Rohingya crisis: Myanmar army clears itself of wrongdoing

Lester Mason
November 15, 2017

It said it had found no instances where its soldiers had shot and killed Rohingya villagers, raped women or tortured prisoners.

Human rights groups poured scorn on Tuesday on a Tatmadaw investigation into alleged atrocities against Rohingya Muslims, branding it a "whitewash" and calling for United Nations and independent investigators to be allowed into Burma.

Myanmar's army has issued a report forcefully denying they committed atrocities against the Rohingya, the embattled ethnic minority who have fled in their hundreds of thousands across the border to Bangladesh.

Measures proposed in the report to the global community to put an end to the violence include "sanctions on the individuals responsible for crimes in Rakhine, instituting an arms embargo on Myanmar, and referring the situation to the worldwide Criminal Court".

While the army insists it has only targeted Rohingya rebels, refugees massing in grim Bangladeshi camps have described chilling and consistent accounts of widespread murder, rape and arson at the hands of security forces and Buddhist mobs.

The Myanmar military launched its clearance operation in Rakhine after an army base and 30 police posts were attacked on August 25 by Rohingya militants, killing about a dozen members of the security forces.

Late on Monday Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the ongoing humanitarian crisis can likely cause regional instability and radicalization.

The U.N. has labeled the Rohingya one of the world's most persecuted religious minorities.

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Suu Kyi was awarded the Dublin honor in 1999 for her work to bring democracy to Myanmar, but she didn't formally receive it until a visit in 2012, when she was also feted with a concert organized by Amnesty International.

The human rights group called for a United Nations fact-finding mission and requested other independent investigators be given full access to Rakhine State.

Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday hit back at accusations that she has been silent over the Rohingya crisis, saying she has focused on speaking in a way that does not inflame tensions.

Though she lacks any say in security policy, the Nobel laureate has become a punching bag for rights groups disappointed by her failure to publicly criticise the military or defend Rohingya against rising Islamophobia, partly because she was so outspoken during the junta years.

"I can not hide my deep concern with the dramatic movement of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Myanmar to Bangladesh", Guterres told leaders including Suu Kyi.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also he had an "extended conversation" with Suu Kyi about the plight of Rohingya Muslims. Trudeau called on Tuesday for a "sustainable and just solution".

According to the sources, the ASEAN bloc has strongly refused to discuss the crisis but a Philippine official has said at least two leaders raised the issue Monday.

In posting on his Facebook page, Myanmar's military supremo said he had explained to Tillerson the "true situation in Rakhine", the reasons why Muslims fled, how the military was working with the government to deliver aid and the progress made for a repatriation process to be agreed with Bangladesh.


Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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