The Latest: UN rights body passes Rohingya crimes measure
GENEVA (AP) — The Latest on the U.N. Human Rights Council’s consideration of the situation with the Rohingya (all times local):
The U.N.’s top human rights body has overwhelmingly passed a measure saying that crimes against humanity have “very likely” been committed against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar.
The Human Rights Council voted 33-3 with nine abstentions on a resolution aiming to re-center the world’s attention on the crisis that has left an untold number of people killed and injured and driven an estimated 626,000 Rohingya to flee into neighboring Bangladesh since August.
The measure broke little new ground but did instruct the U.N. human rights office to assess the level of cooperation of Myanmar’s government with U.N. rights monitors and other experts.
The resolution said the 47-member body is “alarmed” by statements and reports of grave violations against the Rohingya that have been carried out in a “systematic, targeted and deliberate” way by security forces with the help of unspecified “non-state actors.”
China, the Philippines and Burundi voted against the measure. Two delegations were absent.
A top Myanmar diplomat has rejected allegations by the U.N. human rights chief that the country’s government has taken action to “dehumanize” Rohingya Muslims.
While not mentioning the Rohingya directly, Ambassador Htin Lynn says any “dehumanization” of people in Myanmar “could be an act of extremist individuals.”
He told a special session of the Human Rights Council on the Rohingya on Tuesday: “My government is doing everything possible to deter these extremist acts.”
With his government in the spotlight, the ambassador said the priority should be on returning displaced people to Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
The U.N. estimates over 600,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since August to escape a bloody crackdown by security forces in Myanmar.
He spoke after the U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, rhetorically suggested that “genocide” being committed against the Roghinya couldn’t be ruled out.
The leader of a U.N.-mandated fact-finding mission for Myanmar say it’s examining “in depth” allegations that genocide or crimes against humanity have been committed against the Rohingya.
Marzuki Darusman, who heads the independent fact-finding mission, told the Human Rights Council by videoconference that his team has “not yet come to any conclusion on these issues.”
The comments are among the first by U.N. officials about a possible genocide perpetrated against the Rohingya, a Muslim minority in Myanmar, more than 600,000 of whom have fled into neighboring Bangladesh since a bloody security crackdown began in August.
He spoke at a special council session on the Rohingya on Tuesday.
Earlier, U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein cited problems like segregation, killing by random firing of bullets, burning of houses with families inside, and rape targeting the Rohingya.
“Given all of this, can anyone rule out that elements of genocide may be present?” he asked.
The U.N. human rights chief says actions by Myanmar’s government to “dehumanize” the Rohingya minority are likely to fan more violence and draw in communities from across the region.
Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein also urged the Human Rights Council to consider asking the U.N. General Assembly to authorize another U.N. investigation into abuses and violence against the Rohingya since August that has driven 626,000 into neighboring Bangladesh.
Zeid, a Jordanian prince who goes by his first name, said no repatriation of Rohingya to Myanmar should occur without “sustained human rights monitoring” to ensure they can live safely and in dignity.
He was speaking at a special council session Tuesday on the Rohingya’s plight. A draft resolution urges Zeid’s office to report on cooperation between Myanmar’s government with U.N. rights monitors.