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UN: 600,000 Rohingya Live Under Threat of Genocide

FILE - Rohingya Muslims wait to cross the border to Bangladesh, in a temporary camp outside Maungdaw, northern Rakhine state, Myanmar, Nov. 12, 2017.
UN: 600,000 Rohingya Live Under Threat of Genocide
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A special United Nations team is calling for an international investigation into the dangers faced by Rohingya people in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. The U.N. says 600,000 Rohingya who remain in the country live under the threat of genocide.

The three-member Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar presented its report on Monday to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. It said the government-led human rights crisis in the country continues.

Marzuki Darusman leads the mission. He noted last year’s report, which found evidence of crimes against humanity and war crimes by Myanmar’s Tatmadaw army against ethnic communities. He said these same crimes continue.

“We found genocidal acts…in the Tatmadaw’s 2017 'clearance operations' against the Rohingya population,” Darusman said.

He also said Myanmar’s security forces have enjoyed impunity for their crimes for many years.

Darusman said the Mission’s report is based on information from almost 1,300 discussions with victims and eyewitnesses. He said the report also considered tens of thousands of documented human rights abuses of ethnic minorities.

Darusman said the evidence shows that the dangers that forced more than 740,000 Rohingya refugees to flee to Bangladesh continue today.

The situation for about 600,000 Rohingya remaining in Rakhine State is largely unchanged, he said. He noted that laws that discriminate against Rohingya remain in effect and enforced. These include a 1982 citizenship law that bars Rohingya from all basic rights.

The mission found “serious risk of genocide recurring,” said Darusman.

Myanmar’s Representative to the U.N. in Geneva, Kyaw Moe Tun, questioned the reasoning and fairness of the report. He said it creates a misleading picture of the humanitarian situation in the country. He argued that the report is based on unsupported claims and misinformation.

He said his government does not accept impunity and acts against criminal behavior when there is acceptable evidence of such.

He also rejected moves to bring the issue before an international legal body. And, he denounced the U.N team’s call for restrictions against Myanmar. He said efforts to hurt Myanmar economically would punish millions of innocent people and interfere with their human rights.

I’m Caty Weaver.

VOA’s Lisa Schlein reported this story. Caty Weaver adapted it for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.


Words in This Story

impunity - n. freedom from punishment, harm, or loss — usually used in the phrase "with impunity"

recur - v. to happen or appear again : to occur again