Possible 'elements of genocide' in Myanmar: UN rights chief

Possible 'elements of genocide' in Myanmar: UN rights chief

Nearly a million Rohingya people have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh, says Bangladesh's envoy to the UN.

Zeid told the Special Session of the Council that it appeared very probable that by continuing to dehumanise the Rohingya the state authorities would fuel even wider levels of violence in the future.

He said that given the decades of statelessness imposed on the Rohingya, policies of dehumanising discrimination and segregation, and the horrific violence and abuse, along with the forced displacement and systematic destruction of villages, homes, property and livelihoods - "can anyone rule out that elements of genocide may be present?" He referred to allegations of killings by grenades, shootings at close range, stabbings and "the burning of houses with families inside".

Addressing a UN Human Rights Council session, Youssef urged the world countries to provide protection for the Rohingya people and help them return to their homes in Myanmar.

Myanmar and Bangladesh signed an agreement on November 23 for Rohingya living in camps to voluntarily return to northern Rakhine - a process that Myanmar has said will get under way within two months.

China has proposed a three-phase solution to address the crisis, involving ending the violence and restoring stability and order to the region, repatriating refugees, and developing long-term solutions to poverty in Rakhine state as a root cause of the conflict.

Htin Lynn, Myanmar's permanent representative to the U.N.in Geneva, said that although Myanmar is ready to increase cooperation with the U.N.to support national efforts to improve the situation in Rakhine state, it is first necessary to focus on repatriating the refugees, according to a statement issued Tuesday by Zeid's office (OHCHR).

Shahriar Alam, Bangladesh's junior foreign affairs minister, told the session in Geneva that his country was hosting almost one million "Myanmar nationals" following executions and rapes.

"Deeply concerned by the current climate of non-cooperation with United Nations", the council said Myanmar should give free access to a UN fact-finding mission, as well as to humanitarian organizations.

A malnourished child is fed at UNICEF medical centre at Balukhali refugee camp near Cox's Bazar Bangladesh
Possible 'elements of genocide' in Myanmar: UN rights chief

Mainly Buddhist Myanmar denies the Muslim Rohingya are its citizens and considers them foreigners.

Myanmar disassociated itself from the call for the urgent dispatch of a fact-finding mission, and the government refused to grant entry visas to commission members.

Rights advocates hailed the resolution.

Pramila Patten, special envoy of the UN Secretary-General on sexual violence in conflict, who interviewed survivors in Bangladesh in November, said: "I heard the most heart-breaking and horrific accounts of sexual atrocities reportedly committed in cold blood out of a lethal hatred of these people exclusively on the basis of their ethnicity and religion".

The Supreme Court on Tuesday will resume the hearing on deportation of Rohingyas to Myanmar after the centre had called the immigrant refugees a threat to national security.

"It is imperative that any individuals or entities responsible for atrocities be held accountable", the USA state department said.

The resolution passed with the votes of 33 countries.

The top court had earlier chose to give a detailed and holistic hearing on the government's decision to deport Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar.

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