Myanmar rejects U.N. report on genocide

The United Nations demand than Myanmar officials be tried on genocide charges was rejected on Wednesday by the Myanmar government.

Rohingya migrants enter Bangladesh from Budichong, Myanmar, on October 9, 2017. The Myanmar government rejected a United Nations report on Wednesday, citing atrocities against the Rohingya population and a call for six top generals to be tried on genocide charges. File Photo by Abir Abdullah/EPA-EFE
Rohingya migrants enter Bangladesh from Budichong, Myanmar, on October 9, 2017. The Myanmar government rejected a United Nations report on Wednesday, citing atrocities against the Rohingya population and a call for six top generals to be tried on genocide charges. File Photo by Abir Abdullah/EPA-EFE

A U.N. Human Rights Council’s independent investigative report said that Myanmar’s armed forces have failed to respect international humanitarian law in the treatment of thousands of Muslim Rohingya residents of Myanmar. The Rohingya lack basic rights, including citizenship, and the U.N. Independent Fact Finding Mission said thousands have been killed or injured. It conservatively estimated up to 10,000 deaths with large-scale killings, gang rapes and arson attacks, since violence began in August 2017 after a small group of Rohingya insurgents attacked police outposts.

“The security forces’ response, starting within hours, was immediate, brutal and grossly disproportionate,” the report said, with operations that “terrorized the entire Rohingya population. As a result, nearly 725,000 Rohingya had fled to Bangladesh by mid-August 2018.”

U.N. investigators said Monday that six top generals in Myanmar, including army commander-in-chief Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, should be investigated and prosecuted for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. It calls for trials by the International Criminal Court.

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The report was released on Monday at the U.N. offices in Geneva.

“We didn’t allow the FFM [Fact-Finding Mission] to enter into Myanmar, that’s why we don’t agree and accept any resolutions made by the Human Rights Council,” government spokesman Zaw Htay said in a state-run newspaper on Wednesday. “We shall take any action against violation of human rights.”

He added that the government had established its own inquiry commission in “response to the false allegations by the UN agencies and other international agencies. We shall take any action against violation of human rights.”

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Htay also was critical of Tuesday’s decision to shut down the Facebook pages of the army generals. Facebook said in a statement that “There is no place for hate speech” on its platform.

“We have many questions regarding the removal of these Facebook accounts and pages, such as: why did they ban, further details on the reasons of banning and how can we retrieve these accounts and pages,” Htay said in response.

Hau Do Suan, Myanmar’s U.N. ambassador, questioned the report, saying that Myanmar “did not accept the mandate of the mission because we have our concern about the mission’s impartiality.”

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Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Tuesday that a U.S. State Department investigation found the Rohingya situation consistent to the description of the Fact-Finding Mission.

“The attacks were planned, premeditated and coordinated. The perpetrator was the Burmese military and security forces,” Haley told the Security Council on Tuesday, using the former name for Myanmar.

ByEd Adamczyk