Myanmar to face UN investigation over Rohingya violence

March 25, 2017

The U.N. Human Rights Council have agreed on Friday to create an international fact-finding mission to probe allegations of human rights violations against the Rohingya Muslim community.

The resolution by the top UN human rights body has agreed to "dispatch urgently an independent international fact-finding mission" to investigate allegations that may amount to crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing, "with a view to ensure full accountability for perpetrators and justice for victims."

Myanmar and several other nations, including China, India and Philippines "disassociated" themselves from the resolution in whole or in part.

Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, U Htin Lynn, objected to the resolution, saying that it was “not acceptable and not in harmony with the situation on the ground,” and that Myanmar should be allowed to respond to the accusations. “We will do what needs to be done,” he said.

Lynn did not say whether Myanmar would allow the fact-finding mission into Arakan, a state long off limits to the international media and highly restricted for all international organisations.

High ranking UN officials including Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, UN high commissioner for human rights, and Yanghee Lee, special rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar, had earlier called for an international commission for enquiry but world powers, instead called for an ‘international investigation’ after Myanmar objected to the language.

However, a report by The New York Times said both would achieve similar objectives.

Earlier there were concerns by the international media that Myanmar might escape international investigation after EU member states, long patrons of the Rohingya community seemed indecisive and divided. However, events over the last week made it clear that EU has stepped in strongly on the side of the beleaguered community.

There has also been unprecedented support from the Muslim world, especially ASEAN member state Malaysia for the Rohingya Muslims.

Rohingya activists and independent observers have earlier dismissed various investigation initiatives by the Myanmar government as a sham. Earlier this week, investigators visiting Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh dismissed first hand accounts of victims as ‘lies’.

More than a thousand people, including children and women have been killed or ‘missing’ in crackdown led by the Tatmadaw in the fall of 2016. 

aylan r