Top military leaders of Myanmar should be prosecuted for genocide against the Rohingya population in the country’s Rakhine state, a United Nations report on Monday said. The document was written by an independent three-member fact-finding mission of the UN Human Rights Council.
The report named commander-in-chief of the Myanmar Army, Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing and said he, along with five other generals, should be prosecuted for human rights abuse and genocide. It said the nature, scale, and organisation of the operations against the Rohingya Muslims “suggests a level of pre-planning and design” on the part of leadership consistent with the vision of Aung Hlaing.
Last August, the Myanmar army started a brutal crackdown in Rakhine state in response to attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army on police posts and a military base. This led to more than 7 lakh Rohingya fleeing to neighbouring Bangladesh.
The mission members spoke to many Rohingya living in refugee camps in Bangladesh, who highlighted a serious human rights violations by the Myanmar security forces. On Saturday, thousands of Rohingya refugees staged protests at a camp in Cox’s Bazaar to mark the the first anniversary of the military crackdown.
The report said the “clearance operations” to drive out the Rohingya were led by the army, along with other security forces such as the Myanmar Police Force and the Border Guard Police. The report added that some of the most serious violations were committed by divisions reporting directly to Deputy Commander-in-Chief General Soe Win. “Almost all instances of sexual violence are attributable to the Tatmadaw [the Myanmar Armed Forces],” it said.
In its final 20-page report, the mission said there was “genocidal intent” behind the actions of the Myanmar government. “The crimes in Rakhine State, and the manner in which they were perpetrated, are similar in nature, gravity and scope to those that have allowed genocidal intent to be established in other contexts,” it said. “There is sufficient information to warrant the investigation and prosecution of senior officials in the Tatmadaw [army] chain of command, so that a competent court can determine their liability for genocide in relation to the situation in Rakhine state.”
The mission said there was no cooperation from the Myanmar government, which did not grant its members access to the country and failed to reply to any communication.
The report said a special mechanism be set up to keep watch on the human rights situation in Myanmar, adding that the United Nations’ own role in the country since 2011 should be reviewed to see if it did enough to prevent the crisis. The authors criticised Aung San Suu Kyi, and said she had “not used her de facto position as Head of Government, nor her moral authority, to stem or prevent the unfolding events” in Rakhine state.
Earlier, more than 130 members of parliament from five countries in south-east Asia had demanded that Myanmar be investigated by the International Criminal Court, reported The Guardian.
Facebook will take down pages of top generals
Facebook on Monday said it would ban the country’s top generals and other organisations “to prevent the spread of hate and misinformation”. In a post, it said, “We are banning 20 individuals and organisations from Facebook in Myanmar — including Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and the military’s Myawady television network.”
The social networking website will take down 18 Facebook accounts, one Instagram account, and 52 Facebook Pages, followed by almost 12 million people. “We have found evidence that many of these individuals and organisations committed or enabled serious human rights abuses in the country,” it said.