UN says Myanmar army killed, raped in Rohingya ethnic cleansing
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency
Kuala Lumpur, Feb 4, IRNA -- The Myanmar Army forces have committed mass killing and raping Muslims since Oct 2016 which is likely to be crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing, United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) announced.
Witnesses testified to 'the killing of babies, toddlers, children, women and elderly; opening fire at people fleeing; burning of entire villages; massive detention; massive and systematic rape and sexual violence; deliberate destruction of food and sources of food', the report said.
"One woman told UN investigators how her eight-month baby boy had had his throat slit. Another was raped by soldiers and saw her five-year-old daughter killed as she tried to stop them," Asia Pacific News reported.
"The devastating cruelty to which these Rohingya children have been subjected is unbearable,' Asia Pacific quoted UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein as saying in a statement.
'I did speak to Aung San Suu Kyi about an hour and a half ago. I called upon her to use every means available to exert pressure on the military and the security services to end this operation,' Asia Pacific News quoted Ra'ad al-Hussein as saying in an interview with Reuters in Geneva.
'She informed me that an investigation will be launched. She said that they would require further information.'
In Yangon, presidential spokesman Zaw Htay said, 'These are extremely serious allegations, and we are deeply concerned. We will be immediately investigating these allegations through the investigation commission led by Vice-President U Myint Swe.
'Where there is clear evidence of abuses and violations, we will take all necessary action.'
Around 66,000 people have fled from the Muslim-majority northern part of Rakhine State to Bangladesh since Myanmar's military launched a security operation in response to attacks on police border posts on Oct. 9, the U.N. report said. The U.N. humanitarian office has recently put the figure at 69,000.
'The 'area clearance operations' have likely resulted in hundreds of deaths,' some of them through helicopters shooting at villages and dropping grenades on them, the report said.
Four UN investigators gathered testimony last month from 220 Rohingya victims and witnesses who fled the 'lockdown area' in Maungdaw in Rakhine for the Cox's Bazar district in Bangladesh.
Nearly half reported a family member had been killed or disappeared while 101 women reported having been raped or subjected to sexual violence, it said.
Testimonies pointed to 'a persecution on ethnic grounds which is similar to what has been, in other contexts, described as 'ethnic cleansing',' UN mission leader Linnea Arvidsson told a news briefing.
'The findings and gravity of the situation are really so stark that something needs to be done for accountability, but primarily for the violence to stop.'
She said the UN Human Rights Council could refer the issue to the UN Security Council, which in turn had the power to pass it to the International Criminal Court.
The investigators took evidence including photographs of bullet and knife wounds, burns, and injuries resulting from beatings with rifle butts or bamboo sticks.
The plight of the stateless Rohingya, of whom some 1.1 million live in apartheid-like conditions in Rakhine, has long been a source of friction between Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Myanmar, a mostly Buddhist country where Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is de facto leader, has denied almost all allegations of human rights abuses in northern Rakhine and says a lawful counterinsurgency campaign is under way.
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