Myanmar rejects UN probe of abuses against Rohingya in Rakhine State
[ March 27, 2017 ]
Yangon: Myanmar authorities on Saturday rebuffed the UN decision to send an international fact-finding mission to probe into alleged human rights violations in the country’s Rakhine State, saying the establishment of the mission would do more to inflame, rather than resolve the issues at this time.
The United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday decided to send an international fact-finding mission to Myanmar to establish "the facts and circumstances" of the alleged "violations by military and security forces, and abuses" against Rohingya Muslims in particular.
The Foreign Ministry said in a statement, carried by the state-run newspapers, that the establishment of the mission would do more to inflame, rather than resolve the issues at this time.
The UN and international rights groups have been calling on the Myanmar government for a credible international investigation, saying rights violations against the Rohingya Muslims in the northern part of Rakhine may amount to crimes against humanity.
Human Rights Watch Deputy Asian Director Phil Robertson said it was broadly understood that the grave rights violations in Rakhine State were primarily about the conduct of the military, and not the civilian government led by State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, as the international community and the UN recognized that the current constitution placed control of security situations solely in the hands of the military.
"For this reason, the civilian government should stand aside and let the international investigators do their work to reveal what Myanmar’s security forces have been doing," Robertson told Anadolu Agency on Saturday.
"However, if Aung San Suu Kyi and her government seek to block the investigation, then they should recognize that in the eyes of the international community, they will become part of the problem," he added.
A number of attacks on police stations rocked the Rakhine State on 9 October 2016, triggering a draconian law enforcement response that caused the deaths of dozens and led to tens of thousands of people fleeing the country in fear.
Following the growing international pressure, Myanmar established an investigation commission led by Vice President Myint Swe, a former army general, in early December last year.
Robertson said the commission lacked credibility as its methodology failed to protect the witnesses or victims, and its members were stacked with current or former government officials who were there to "cover up" what happened, not expose it.
"No one believes the Myanmar government when they say that their national investigation commissions are independent," he noted.