UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has said there is strong evidence indicating genocide, extermination and deportation of the Rohingya in addition to crimes against humanity and war crimes reported to have been committed in three Myanmar states, reports UNB.
She said the Mission has determined that many of the gross human rights violations and serious breaches of international humanitarian law, in Kachin, Shan and Rakhine states amount to the gravest crimes under international law.“The persistence of patterns of violations underscores the total impunity accorded to the Myanmar security forces,” Bachelet said while addressing the 39th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday.
In Kachin and Shan States, the Fact Finding Mission found indications of extrajudicial execution and unlawful killings, torture and other forms of ill-treatment, sexual violence, arbitrary arrests, and forced labour, she said.
This Council session will be apprised of the deeply shocking findings of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar.
“It is shocking that journalists involved in documenting some of the massacres which occurred have been prosecuted, and now given a harsh sentence. They should be immediately released,” said Bachelet.
She said attacks and persecution appear to be continuing in Rakhine: at least 12,000 new Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh so far this year.
“I emphasise the imperative of justice for Myanmar,” Bachelet said welcoming the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court’s finding that the Court has jurisdiction over the deportation of Rohingya from Myanmar, and possibly other crimes.She said this is an immensely important step toward ending impunity and addressing the enormous suffering of the Rohingya people.
“I also welcome efforts by Member States at this Council to establish an independent international mechanism for Myanmar, to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyse evidence of the most serious international crimes, in order to expedite fair and independent trials in national and international courts,” she said.
Bachelet said this mechanism would also complement and support the preliminary examination of the ICC Prosecutor.
“I urge the Council to pass a resolution, and refer the matter to the General Assembly for its endorsement, so that such a mechanism can be established.
The UN Human Rights chief has also said the government of Bangladesh should do more to ensure freedom of expression, which is indispensable for free and fair elections.
Bachelet said troubling reports also indicate that an anti-narcotics drive has led to over 220 killings, and thousands of arrests, with allegations of extrajudicial executions.
In Bangladesh, a country to be commended for hosting so many refugees and for its success in poverty reduction, student protestors and media professionals have in recent months been attacked, arrested, charged with defamation and, reportedly and ill-treated.
The perpetrators of this violence, Bachelet said, must be held accountable to prevent recurrence.
Drug issues everywhere are best tackled through a focus on health, education and opportunities - not the death penalty, or death squads.
The Office has submitted a report to this session on more effective, and human rights compliant, measures to address narcotics issues.