Violence against Rohingya may amount to ‘crimes against humanity’: UN rights chief

Mr Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said the violations, “against a backdrop of severe and longstanding persecution”, amount to the “possible commission of crimes against humanity”.

He was addressing the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, where he highlighted the current major human rights issues in more than 40 countries.

Mr Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein urged the Human Rights Council to at least establish a commission of inquiry into the violence committed against the Rohingya, especially during the security clearance operation after the Oct 9 attacks against three border posts in the Maungdaw district in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

About 10 security personnel were killed in the initial incident.

After the attacks occurred, the authorities locked down the area and conducted a security clearance to hunt down the perpetrators. According to the UN, this forced more than 74,000 Rohingya to flee from Maungdaw to neighbouring Bangladesh.

More than 20,000 Rohingya have been newly displaced within Rakhine state.

During the security clearance operations, which are said to have ceased last month, many allegations of atrocities such as rape, arson and summary killings against the Rohingya surfaced.

The Myanmar government does not recognise the Rohingya, saying they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. The government has also consistently denied many of the reported allegations of violations against the Rohingya.

The government had formed its own investigation commission, led by Myanmar’s vice president, to look into the allegations, but many sceptics are unconvinced that the commission will deliver an impartial report.

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