Thank you Madam Vice-President,
This January, Human Rights Now visited refugee camps and surrounding areas of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, and spoke with numerous Rohingya who had fled from violence in Myanmar since August 2017.
During the visit, we heard multiple accounts of atrocities witnessed and experienced by Rohingya at the hands of Myanmar security forces, including killings, rape, arbitrary detention, torture, and arson. Some of the interviewees, including numerous children, also showed us physical evidence of violence they had received. A recent media report of the finding of a mass grave is the newest piece of evidence suggesting ethnic cleansing against Rohingya. This report suggests serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.
On March 7th, in this Council, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein expressed strong suspicions that acts of genocide may have taken place in Rakhine State since August. We share his view and express our utmost concern over the situation.
We urge Myanmar authorities to end military operations and human rights abuses in Rakhine State, and to ensure justice and accountability over the alleged crimes committed by security forces on persons acting under their direction. Myanmar must fully collaborate with the UN Special Rapporteur, the Council’s fact finding mission, and other UN bodies. We also urge Myanmar to immediately release the detained reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo and end oppression over the freedom of the press.
We call on the UN Human Rights Council to adopt strong and effective measures to stop the ongoing atrocities. The international community must implement a comprehensive arms embargo, targeted sanctions, and refer the situation to the International Criminal Court.