UN rights council names team to probe abuses against Rohingya Muslims


UNITED NATIONS, May 30 (APP): The UN Human Rights Council has named a
three-person team to probe atrocities against Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state.
The Geneva-based Council voted in March to create a Myanmar fact-finding
mission, in a politically sensitive move that faced fierce resistance from the civilian-led government of Aung San Suu Kyi. It did so by adopting a resolution by consensus, sponsored by the European Union, which called for “ensuring full accountability for perpetrators and justice for victims,” and asked the Myanmar government to cooperate with the investigation.
Making the announcement on Tuesday, the 47-nation Council President,
Ambassador Joaqun Alexander Maza Martelli of El Salvador, said in Geneva that Indian lawyer and women’s rights campaigner, Indira Jaising, Sri Lanka’s former human rights chief, Radhika Coomaraswamy, and Christopher Dominic Sidoti, a prominent human rights advocate from Australia, have been appointed to lead the probe.
The team of experts is scheduled to meet soon in Geneva to chart a work plan.
It is, however, not yet clear if the group will be granted access to Rakhine state, or even be permitted to land in Myanmar.
The mission is scheduled to give the council an oral update of its findings in September.
UN investigators, who interviewed Rohingya escapees in neighboring
Bangladesh, have blamed Myanmar’s government forces for responding with a campaign of murder, gang rape and arson that they say may amount to genocide.
In a report in February, media reports cited two UN officials dealing
with refugees fleeing violence as saying that some 1,000 Rohingya Muslims may have been killed in Myanmar’s army crackdown on the minority group.
Myanmar has long faced international condemnation for its treatment of
the Rohingya. Suu Kyi, who has received the Nobel Peace Prize, has been incapable of containing the violence against the minority community.
Rights campaigners say that national efforts have not been credible, calling for an international inquiry.
Rakhine state has been under a military siege since October 2016 over a
raid on a police post blamed on the Rohingya. A four-month crackdown on the minority group has seen some 75,000 Rohingya flee to Bangladesh.
Buddhist-dominated Myanmar has a history of discrimination against
Muslims, and call the Rohingya illegal immigrants. Rights groups have challenged the claim, arguing that the Rohingya has historical roots in the country.