KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 — The United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner has called for an international criminal investigation into the proliferating brutal attacks that have driven more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar to mainly neighbouring Bangladesh since August.
It said elements of genocide against the Rohingya minority could not be ruled out.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said the Rohingya population in Myanmar had faced decades of statelessness, policies of dehumanising discrimination and segregation, accompanied by horrific violence and abuse, along with forced displacement and systematic destruction of villages, homes, property and livelihoods.
“Given all of this, can anyone rule out that element of genocide may be present?” he said while addressing yesterday a special session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) convened in response to the ongoing exodus of Rohingyas from Myanmar to Bangladesh.
The special session was convened at the request of Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia, and supported by other member states of the HRC, and Malaysia was also one of the observer states supporting the request.
“Ultimately, this is a legal determination only a competent court can make. But the concerns are extremely serious, and clearly call for access to be immediately granted for further verification,” Zeid said.
Zeid said he had already reported to both the HRC and the UN Security Council about the persistent allegations of serious human rights violations by security forces. Yet, he added, prosecutions for alleged acts of violence against Rohingyas, including sexual violence whether committed by security forces or civilians appeared to be extremely rare. — Bernama