The United Nations human rights chief says Myanmar is making “serial denials” of the state-sponsored abuses carried out against Rohingya Muslims, shortly after a Myanmarese official demanded evidence of alleged genocide.
Speaking in a news conference in Geneva on Friday, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein urged the UN General Assembly to refer the case of the atrocities committed against the Muslim Rohingya minority in Buddhist-majority Myanmar to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for prosecution.
Earlier, the UN official had said he had strong suspicion that acts of genocide had taken place against the Rohingya.
Myanmar has consistently denied that any violence has taken place against the Rohingya Muslims despite the widespread and well-documented accounts of horrific violence and sabotage, including satellite imagery.
Myanmar’s National Security Adviser Thaung Tun on Thursday brazenly demanded to see “clear evidence” to support accusations of ethnic cleansing or genocide.
“The vast majority of the Muslim community that was living in Rakhine remain,” he claimed. “If it was a genocide, they would all be driven out.”
This is while more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims — out of a population of 1.1 million — have fled Myanmar since August last year, when the Myanmarese military intensified a bloody campaign against the Rohingya in the western Rakhine State. Another 200,000 had already fled.
In this file photo, taken on November 26, 2017 Rohingya Muslim refugees walk down a hillside in the Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. (By AFP)
In his Friday remarks, Zeid said if Myanmarese officials sought to disprove the allegations, they had to “invite us in” to Rakhine.—Agencies