UN expert urges strong resolution on Rohingya crisis

Special Rapporteur on Myanmar Yanghee Lee called on the UN Security Council to issue a "strongly worded resolution" on the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, according to the UN Human Rights High Commissioner (OHCHR).

It is essential that those responsible for human rights violations are held to account, Lee said on Thursday according to a statement published on the official website of the OHCHR.

Lee spoke at the UN General Assembly in New York, presenting a report on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.

She pointed out the widespread use of hate speech against the Rohingya Muslim community in the western Rakhine state, stressing that it amounted to incitement to hostility and even violence.

“It has been cultivated for decades in the minds of the Myanmar people that the Rohingya are not indigenous to the country and therefore have no rights whatsoever to which they can apparently claim,” Lee said.

She also urged the full access for the Human Rights Council’s fact-finding mission in the Rakhine state.

Lee also mentioned reports about incidents of religious intolerance against Christians and Muslims in Myanmar and called on the government “to publicly embrace all the communities” as well as “to strike down all discriminatory laws”, to show that all groups in Myanmar have equal rights.

“It seems to me that national legislation is effectively resulting in the criminalization of legitimate expression,” the UN expert added.



Over 600,000 flee violence

The United Nations has accused Myanmar of allowing its security forces to engage in ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims in response to attacks by Rohingya militants on police and soldiers in the Maugndaw area of Rakhine state on Aug. 25.

Since that date, some 603,000 Rohingya have crossed from Rakhine into neighboring Bangladesh, according to the UN.

The refugees are fleeing a military crackdown in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages.

According to Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali, around 3,000 Rohingya have been killed in the crackdown.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.