United Nations rights boss says can't rule out crime of genocide against Rohingya

Papst Franziskus in Bangladesch

United Nations rights boss says can't rule out crime of genocide against Rohingya

The UN rights chief called Tuesday for a fresh worldwide investigation into Myanmar's abuses against its Rohingya Muslim minority, warning of possible "elements of genocide".

Mr Zeid Al-Hussein had previously described the campaign by Myanmar's military as "textbook" ethnic cleansing.

During the session, he cited systematic discrimination against Rohingya, policies of segregation, and recent allegations of killings, stabbings, beatings to death, burnings of houses with families inside, rape and sexual abuse, forced displacement, and the systematic destruction of villages, homes, and livelihoods.

Myanmar's ambassador Htin Lynn told the Geneva forum that his government "disassociated" itself from the resolution.

It also asked Zeid's office to track progress in the country and to provide regular updates to the council and submit a full report by March 2019.

China has proposed a three-phase solution to address the crisis, involving ending the violence and restoring stability and order to the region, repatriating refugees, and developing long-term solutions to poverty in Rakhine state as a root cause of the conflict.

Rights groups welcomed the resolution and called for perpetrators of the violence to be held accountable for their actions.

He told a special session of the Human Rights Council on the Rohingya on Tuesday: "My government is doing everything possible to deter these extremist acts".

But the text did not go as far as Zeid had hoped.

Myanmar does not accept its jurisdiction, meaning the Security Council's unanimous support would be needed to force an investigation.

Htin Lynn on Tuesday said that the country's position towards the fact-finding mission "remains unchanged".

Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Shahriar Alam warned that the massive exodus over such a short period was "comparable only with the exodus following the 1994 Rwanda genocide".

Myanmar continues to bar United Nations investigators from the country, and Mr Zeid Al-Hussein acknowledged that prosecutions for such crimes were "rare".

Supreme Court (SC) today is going to begin once more the hearing of plea of two "hingya refugees" aligned with the Centre's verdict to expel Rohingya Muslim reverse to Myanmar.The apex court on last months delayed the matter after approving to the demand of senior advocate Fali S Nariman, who appear for the two refugees - Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir.

According to the UN's top expert on the situation in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, Myanmar authorities appear to have already started building camps for returnees, raising serious concerns about the conditions the Rohingya would return to.

Zeid meanwhile lamented the refusal inside Myanmar but also by some global players to even name the Rohingyas, creating "a shameful paradox: they are denied a name, while being targetted for being who they are".

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