The United Nations special envoy on human rights to Myanmar said on Thursday that the country’s military operations against Rohingya Muslims “bear the hallmarks of a genocide”, AP reported.
Yanghee Lee, who is based in South Korea’s Capital Seoul, told reporters that she could not make a definitive declaration about genocide in Myanmar until a “credible” international tribunal had examined the evidence. However, “we are seeing signs and it is building up to that [a genocide],” she added.
An AP investigation report published on Thursday said that at least five mass graves were found in Gu Dar Pyin village in Myanmar. “You can see that it is a pattern,” Lee said of the report, though she added that she did not have specific details about the village. The envoy said reports like these need to be examined.
Lee said Myanmar’s actions amount to “crimes against humanity”. “I think Myanmar needs to get rid of this baggage of “did you or did you not”, and if proven that they did, then there has to be responsibility and accountability,” she added. “No stones must be left unturned because the people, the victims, the families of the victims definitely deserve an answer.”
A United Nations Children’s Fund official said on January 25 that attacks on Rohingya Muslims were still occurring in Myanmar. It is not safe for refugee Rohingya Muslims to return to their homes yet, UNICEF deputy executive director Justin Forsyth added.
Nearly seven lakh Rohingya Muslims have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh since August 25, 2017, after a militant attack on security forces resulted in a violent crackdown.