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  • Rohingya refugees stretch their hands to receive aid distributed by local organisations at Balukhali makeshift refugee camp in Cox

    Rohingya refugees stretch their hands to receive aid distributed by local organisations at Balukhali makeshift refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. | Photo: Reuters

 

"Given all of this, can anyone rule out that elements of genocide may be present?" top UN official said. 

Persecution of Rohingyas may amount to genocide,  the UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, said while addressing the Human Rights Council, pointing to the "concordant reports of acts of appalling barbarity committed against the Rohingyas" received by the UN investigators. 

"Given all of this, can anyone rule out that elements of genocide may be present?" top UN official said. 

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Urging the 47 member council, al-Hussein also recommended the UN General Assembly set up a new mechanism that would probe individual criminal responsibility.

"Given all of this, can anyone rule out that elements of genocide may be present?" the top UN official said. 

Some of the allegations the security forces are accused of include, "deliberately burning people to death inside their homes, murders of children and adults; indiscriminate shooting of fleeing civilians; widespread rapes of women and girls, and the burning and destruction of houses, schools, markets and mosques", al-Hussein said. 

Nearly 626,000 Rohingya have fled the Rakhine state since August following the military crackdown. 

 

Despite testimonies and reports by advocacy groups stating Myanmar's state repression of the minority Muslim community, Myanmar government has repeatedly denied the allegations of ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

Amnesty International has also urged the Human Rights Council to pass a "strong resolution that sends a clear message to Myanmar's government and military that their abhorrent treatment of the Rohingya must end immediately." 

Earlier in September, condemning the brutal state repression, al-Hussein said the Rohingya exodus seemed to be "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing" adding the "brutal security operation" against the Rohingya was a "clearly disproportionate" response to the attacks led by the insurgents. 

Reports from as early as February 2017 by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) along with the statements by the UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar point towards accounts of egregious violations targeting the Rohingya minority at the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017. 


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