UN genocide adviser: Indications Myanmar cleansing Rohingyas

FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, file photo, Rohingya Muslim children wait for food handouts distributed by a Turkish aid agency at Thaingkhali refugee camp, Bangladesh. Myanmar's government has rejected two reports presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council that concluded it committed extreme human rights violations, probably amounting to crimes under international law, in its repression of several minority groups. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin, File)

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. adviser on preventing genocide said Tuesday that all information he has received indicates the Myanmar government intended to get rid of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state and possibly even destroy them "which, if proven, would constitute the crime of genocide."

Adama Dieng visited Bangladesh from March 7-13 to assess the situation of the Rohingyas and called what he heard and witnessed "a human tragedy with the fingerprints of the Myanmar government and of the international community."

"The scorched-earth campaign carried out by the Myanmar security forces since August 2017 against the Rohingya population was predictable and preventable," Dieng said in a statement. "Despite the numerous warnings I have made of the risk of atrocity crimes, the international community has buried its head in the sand."

"This has cost the Rohingya population of Myanmar their lives, their dignity and their homes," he said.

Buddhist-majority Myanmar doesn't recognize the Rohingya as an ethnic group, insisting they are Bengali migrants from Bangladesh living illegally in the country. It has denied them citizenship, leaving them stateless.

The recent spasm of violence began when Rohingya insurgents launched a series of attacks on Aug. 25 on about 30 security outposts and other targets.

Myanmar security forces then began a scorched-earth campaign against Rohingya villages that the U.N. and human rights groups have called a campaign of ethnic cleansing. About 700,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh, but several hundred thousand remain in northern Rakhine State.

Dieng said the Rohingyas "have endured what no human beings should have to endure."

"Let us be clear: international crimes were committed in Myanmar," Dieng said. "Rohingya Muslims have been killed, tortured, raped, burned alive and humiliated solely because of who they are."

He said the solution lies first and foremost with Myanmar's government, which must create conditions for their safe return with "the same rights as any other citizen of Myanmar."

Dieng also stressed that the international community "must not fail the Rohingya population again."

It has a responsibility "to protect the population from the risk of further atrocity crimes," he said.

"Whether or not we consider that the crimes committed amount to crimes against humanity or genocide, this should not delay our resolve to act and to act immediately," Dieng said.

The special adviser on the prevention of genocide also warned that returning the Rohingyas to Myanmar now would put them at risk of new "atrocity crimes"

Dieng said he was encouraged by the commitment of Bangladeshi authorities he met that Rohingya refugees will not be repatriated against their will.

While in Bangladesh, he said, it is imperative that the Rohingyas have more chances for education and work which will help them as refugees and when they eventually return to Myanmar.

Must Read

TV executive predicts 500-show bubble destined to deflate

Aug 9, 2016

Television viewers know there's a mind-boggling array of shows to attempt to watch, but FX Networks chief executive John Landgraf predicts that change is coming

Trump ignites new firestorm: Gun backers might stop Clinton

Aug 10, 2016

Donald Trump sets off a fresh political firestorm by suggesting gun rights supporters might find a way to stop Hillary Clinton if she's elected and nominates anti-gun Supreme Court justices

Criticism of lavish funeral for Anne of Romania

Aug 10, 2016

The presidents of Romania and Moldova pay their last respects to Anne of Romania at a 19th-century royal castle amid some criticism about the grand royal funeral

People also read these

Hearing on Johnny Depp domestic violence allegations delayed

Aug 9, 2016

A judge is briefly delaying a restraining order hearing involving Johnny Depp and his estranged wife because it is expected to span several days; depositions of both actors set

A look at China's foreign policy challenges

Aug 10, 2016

China's simmering feud with South Korea over deployment of an American missile defense system is the latest in a string of foreign policy challenges piling up on President Xi Jinping's desk as he prepares to host next month's annual summit of G20 nations

Turkish, Russian officials to discuss solution for Syria

Aug 10, 2016

Turkey's foreign minister says Turkish foreign ministry, military and intelligence officials will travel to Russia for discussions on finding a solution to the Syria conflict

Weather, 20 December
Houston Weather
+7

High: +11° Low: -2°

Humidity: 83%

Wind: NNE - 7 KPH

Canberra Weather
+27

High: +27° Low: +17°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: W - 20 KPH

Roissy-en-France Weather
+6

High: +6° Low: -5°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: ENE - 7 KPH

Florence Weather
+9

High: +9° Low: +6°

Humidity: 97%

Wind: ENE - 17 KPH

Parga Weather
+7

High: +16° Low: +4°

Humidity: 100%

Wind: SE - 25 KPH