Rohingya crisis: UN HR chief for action to stop this madness

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UN

MNA Exclusive Desk: The UN human rights chief on Tuesday condemned the ‘widespread, systematic and shockingly brutal’ attacks on Rohingyas as well as decades of discrimination and persecution.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein urged a Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council on the current situation of the minority Rohingya Muslim population in northern Rakhine State ‘to take the appropriate action to stop this madness now’.

He asked: ‘How much do people have to endure before their suffering is acknowledged and their identity and rights are recognised, by their government and by the world?’

The High Commissioner urged the Council to consider making a recommendation to the UN General Assembly that it establish a new impartial and independent mechanism, complementary to the work of the Fact-Finding Mission into the latest wave of violence and abuses, to assist individual criminal investigations of those responsible.

He said that given the decades of statelessness imposed on the Rohingya, policies of dehumanising discrimination and segregation, and the horrific violence and abuse, along with the forced displacement and systematic destruction of villages, homes, property and livelihoods — ‘can anyone rule out that elements of genocide may be present?’

‘Ultimately, this is a legal determination only a competent court can make,’ he told the Council. ‘But the concerns are extremely serious, and clearly call for access to be immediately granted for further verification.’

Zeid said his office had sent three teams to Bangladesh this year to monitor the situation and interview refugees.

He said witnesses reported acts of appalling barbarity committed against the Rohingya, including 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.

Zeid said he had reported to both the Human Rights Council and the Security Council about the persistent allegations of serious human rights violations by security forces, reported news agency.