UN Expert: Violence against Rohingya extensive

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The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar said the magnitude of violence against Rohingya populations in Myanmar is far more extensive than speculated.
Yanghee Lee is calling for urgent action by the Government there to end the suffering of the Rohingya population in the country.

However, it is clear that Myanmar will not react to any call for changes in its attitude towards the Rohingya Muslims, which the country calls ‘refugees’ from Bangladesh.

The expert reported several allegations of horrific attacks including the slitting of some people’s throats, indiscriminate shootings, houses being set alight with people tied up inside and very young children being thrown into the fire, as well as gang rapes and other sexual violence.

She met members of the Rohingya population who had fled to Bangladesh after 9 October 2016 when the Myanmar Border Guard Police facilities were attacked and reprisals followed.

The Special Rapporteur said: “I urge the Government of Myanmar to immediately cease the discrimination that the community continues to face, to act now to prevent any further serious rights violations and to conduct prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigations into those already alleged to have occurred.”

“We all owe it to those I have met and their fellow community members to do everything in our power to ensure this is done and to give the Rohingya people reason to hope again,” she concluded.

Malaysia is the only country that has openly criticised Myanmar for its violence against the Rohingya, pointing the abuse of their rights and calling for an end to the violence against the Muslim ethnic group.

The Rohingya people says they are originated from the Arakan state, which was once a sprawling and rich Muslim province.

Myanmar citizens in the Rakhine province disputes the historical claims by the Rohingya, calling them Muslim refugees and resisting any attempts to grant them Myanmar citizenship.

In addition to the alleged human rights violations occurring within the context of the security operations that followed the 9 October attacks, Lee also highlighted how the Government of Myanmar appears to have taken, and continues to take, actions which discriminate against the Rohingya and make their lives even more difficult.

Yanghee Lee, who visited Rohingya camps in Bangladesh will issue an ‘end of mission statement’ and share her findings to the UN Human Rights Council which will be available online on March 13, 2017.