Myanmar rejects UN reports accusing it of extreme human rights violations in repression of minority groups



Associated Press

Myanmar's government today rejected two reports presented to the UN Human Rights Council that concluded it committed extreme human rights violations, probably amounting to crimes under international law, in its repression of several minority groups.

Government spokesperson Zaw Htay said the reports presented by the Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar and UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar Yanghee Lee lacked credibility.

Amnesty International's New Zealand's Grant Bayldon is calling for action.
Source: 1 NEWS

The report of the Fact-Finding Mission, chaired by former Indonesian Attorney-General Marzuki Darusman, was based on hundreds of accounts by victims and witnesses of reported human rights violations, as well as satellite imagery, photographs and video footage.

The mission's members were barred by Myanmar's government from entering the country, so its researchers interviewed refugees and others in Bangladesh, Malaysia and Thailand.

More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since fighting broke out in the region.
Source: Q+A

Zaw Htay said Buddhist-majority Myanmar had barred the Fact-Finding Mission because it rejected its legitimacy. He questioned the reliability of its research and cast doubts on the credibility of the refugees' stories.

"We are not denying rights violations but we are asking for strong, fact-based, and trustworthy evidence on the allegations they are making," Zaw Htay told The Associated Press by telephone.

He also said Myanmar would no longer cooperate with Lee because she "has made biased, one-sided and unfair accusations against Myanmar."

Lee told the Human Rights Council that violent sweeps by the Myanmar army in Rakhine state that prompted about 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to neighboring Bangladesh "bear the hallmarks of genocide."

She said accountability for the abuses in Rakhine should be "the focus of the international community's efforts to bring long-lasting peace, stability and democratization to Myanmar."

"This must be aimed at the individuals who gave the orders and carried out violations against individuals and entire ethnic and religious groups," she said. "The government leadership who did nothing to intervene, stop, or condemn these acts must also be held accountable."

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