A damning report by the UN has said that the top military officials in Myanmar must be investigated for genocide against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state.
The UN report added that the Burmese army’s actions were “consistently and grossly disproportionate to actual security threats.” The state-sponsored genocide by the army in Myanmar with the support of its ruler and disgraced Nobel laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, led to the murders of thousands of Rohingya Muslims. The violence also forced more than 7,00,000 Muslims to leave the country for the neighbouring Bangladesh and India.
While sharply condemning the role of Suu Kyi, the report also named six top military officials, who it said should go on trial. The report quoted a victim as saying, “In Rakhine State, Muslims are like in a cage, they cannot travel outside. There are no human rights for the Muslims of Rakhine. I don’t know why God sent us there.”
Recalling the ‘clearance operations’ by the Myanmar army, one victim told the UN investigators, “That day felt like the last day of this world, as if the whole world was collapsing. I thought judgment day had arrived.”
The UN report, for its part, said, “What happened on 25 August 2017 and the following days and weeks was the realisation of a disaster long in the making. It resulted from the systemic oppression of the Rohingya, the 2012 violence, and the Government’s actions and omissions since then. It caused the disintegration of a community.”
The UN report termed the clearance operations by the Myanmar army as ‘human rights catastrophe. It said, “The “clearance operations” constituted a human rights catastrophe. Thousands of Rohingya were killed or injured. Information collected by the Mission suggests that the estimate of up to 10,000 deaths is conservative. Mass killings were perpetrated in Min Gyi (Tula Toli), Maung Nu, Chut Pyin, Gudar Pyin, and villages in Koe Tan Kauk village tract. In some cases hundreds of people died.
“In both Min Gyi and Maung Nu, villagers were gathered together, before men and boys were separated and killed. In Min Gyi, women and girls were taken to nearby houses, gang raped, then killed or severely injured. Houses were locked and set on fire. Few survived. In numerous other villages the number of casualties was also markedly high. Bodies were transported in military vehicles, burned and disposed of in mass graves.”
However, experts believe that the UN may find it difficult to take Myanmar to the ICC since its not a signatory to the Rome Statute. BBC’s southeast Asia correspondet, Jonathan Head, said, “Taking Myanmar to the ICC, as recommended by the report, is difficult. It is not a signatory to the Rome Statute that established the court, so a referral to the ICC would need the backing of the permanent five Security Council members – and China is unlikely to agree.”
The UK Foreign Office tweeted stating that the “appalling” violations against the Rohingya must be punished. “There cannot and must not be impunity for such acts,” said Minister of State for Asia Mark Field.
“There cannot and must not be impunity for such acts.”
— Foreign Office ?? (@foreignoffice) August 27, 2018
EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic told reporters: “We have made clear very consistently those responsible for alleged serious and systemic human rights violations must be held to account.”