UN: Rohingya Abuses Could Spark Regional Conflict

UN: Rohingya Abuses Could Spark Regional Conflict

Monday, 5 February, 2018 - 07:00
In this Jan. 14, 2018 photo, Rohingya Muslim refugee Mohammad Karim, 26, center, shows a mobile video of Gu Dar Pyin’s massacre to other refugees in Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh. (Manish Swarup/Associated Press)
Asharq Al-Awsat
UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein warned Monday that possible acts of "genocide and ethnic cleansing" against Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim minority could fuel a religious-based conflict that spreads beyond the country's borders.

"Myanmar faces a very serious crisis –- with a potentially severe impact on the security of the region," the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said during a speech in Jakarta.

His remarks follow the publication of a report by the Associated Press last week about mass graves of Rohingya in Myanmar's troubled Rakhine state, where government troops have been accused of waging an ethnic cleansing campaign against the minority.

The AP has reported it had confirmed the existence of more than five previously unreported mass graves in the village of Gu Dar Pyin, through interviews with survivors in refugee camps in Bangladesh and through time-stamped cellphone videos.

Nearly 700,000 Rohingya have fled to bordering Bangladesh since last August.

Myanmar denied the mass grave report and wider allegations of rights abuses, saying it launched a proportionate crackdown on Rohingya rebels. 

But it has blocked reporters and UN investigators from independently accessing the conflict zone and investigating refugee claims about a genocide.

Zeid on Monday said Myanmar had enjoyed strong growth including a focus on socio-economic development in the Rakhine region, but that this could not mask "institutionalized discrimination" against the minority.

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