Toronto - Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims are being subjected to “horrific torture” at the hands of those who should be protecting them, according to UN statements being reported by the BBC.
Toronto – Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims are being subjected to “horrific torture” at the hands of those who should be protecting them, according to UN statements being reported by the BBC.
Top UN officials are using the phrase “crimes against humanity” to describe the treatment of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims at the hands of the Burmese military and police.
Yanghee Lee, UN special rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar, spoke with Rohingya refugees who have escaped to Bangladesh camps. She describes the details of the refugees claims as “far worse” than she had feared. “I would say crimes against humanity. Definite crimes against humanity… by the Burmese, Myanmar military, the border guards or the police or security forces.”
Lee is highly critical of the Myanmar government, led by Aung San Sui Kyi, for not taking control of the situation happening within its borders and by its own officials. “At the end of the day it is the government, the civilian government that has to answer to these massive cases of horrific torture and very inhumane crimes they have committed against their own people.”
That government, for its part, and Ms Sui Kyi in particular, have refused to be interviewed on the subject. They have dismissed the claims as “exaggerated.” A spokesman for the ruling party stated, “We don’t believe it is crimes against humanity. It’s an internal affair, it’s not an international affair.” Officials go even further in their dismissal of UN reports from the ground, saying “sometimes the United Nations is wrong.”
Meanwhile, special rapporteur, Lee, describes witness accounts of Burmese security shooting civilians and abducting and raping young girls. Many of these accounts have been backed up by satellite and video evidence. So far, more than 70,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh.
Lees findings will be presented to a UN Human Rights Council in Geneva where it is expected she will request an official Commission of Inquiry. It’s not clear yet if the UN will comply as some leaders have expressed concern about doing anything to overtly undermine Myanmar’s elected leader.