A newly released United Nations report on Rohingya Muslims and other ethnic groups in Myanmar found that they may have been subject to crimes against humanity.
The report, released by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday found that the Rohingya are suffering from “arbitrary deprivation of nationality, severe restrictions on freedom of movement, threats to life and security, denial of rights to health and education, forced labour, sexual violence, and limitations to their political rights”.
Following a spate of anti-Rohingya violence in 2012 in the Rakhine State, some 120,000 Rohingya and Kaman Muslims remain displaced living in camps for internally displaced people. The report also highlighted abuses faced by other ethnic groups, some of whom were in armed conflict with the government.
“There has also been an alarming increase in incitement to hatred and religious intolerance by ultra-nationalist Buddhist organisations,” the report added, with a press release noting that the “pattern of violations against the Rohingya may amount to crimes against humanity”.
The UN Human Rights chief said he was “encouraged by the constructive dialogue” he has had with Myanmar’s recently elected government over the previous weeks to tackle these issues, but warned “this will be a challenging process that requires resolve, resources and time”.
“The new Government has inherited a situation where laws and policies are in place that are designed to deny fundamental rights to minorities, and where impunity for serious violations against such communities has encouraged further violence against them,” he said. “It will not be easy to reverse such entrenched discrimination. This will be a challenging process that requires resolve, resources and time.”
“But it must be a top priority to halt ongoing violations and prevent further ones taking place against Myanmar’s ethnic and religious minorities.”
“I hope we can start working together towards implementation of some of the recommendations contained in my report”, High Commissioner Zeid concluded.
Myanmar leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi came under criticism after calling on the United States not to use the term ‘Rohingya’ when referring to the persecuted population.
Speaking after a meeting with the US Secretary of State John Kerry, Ms Suu Kyi also asked for the country to be given "enough space" to deal with the Rohingya issue