The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution on Friday condemning human rights abuses against Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar, including alleged arbitrary arrests, torture, rape and deaths in detention, AP reported. The 193-member body voted 134-9, with 28 abstentions, in favour of the resolution.
The resolution demanded that Myanmar take urgent measures to combat incitement of hatred against the Rohingya and other minorities in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan states of the country. It expressed alarm at the continuing influx of Rohingya Muslims into Bangladesh. Over 11 lakh, or 1.1 million Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh in the last few years.
The Assembly also expressed concern at the finding of an independent mission which reported “gross human rights violations and abuses suffered by Rohingya Muslims and other minorities” at the hands of Myanmar’s security forces. The mission had added that these abuses “undoubtedly amount to the gravest crimes under international law”.
The UN General Assembly called for an immediate stop to fighting and hostilities in Rakhine state. It added that it was deeply concerned by reports that “unarmed individuals in Rakhine state have been and continue to be subjected to the excessive use of forces and violations of international human rights law” by security forces. The Assembly called on the Myanmar government to immediately remove the statelessness and discrimination practiced against the Rohingya and other minorities.
The General Assembly resolution demanded that Myanmar create conditions for the safe and voluntary return of all Rohingya refugees to the country. It noted that the Rohingya had twice refused to return to Myanmar from Bangladesh because of the absence of these conditions.
However, Myanmar’s UN envoy, Hau Do Suan, dismissed the resolution, BBC reported. He called it “another classic example of double standards and selective and discriminatory application of human rights norms”. Hau claimed that the resolution was designed to exert “unwarranted political pressure” on Myanmar and did not attempt to find a solution to the complex problem in Rakhine state.
Gambia had in November filed a case against Myanmar at the United Nations’ International Court of Justice, accusing it of committing genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority. Gambia asked the international court to urgently order measures “to stop Myanmar’s genocidal conduct immediately”.
Earlier in December, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, the state counsellor of Myanmar, called the case against Myanmar “incomplete and incorrect”. She claimed that the situation in Rakhine state was characterised by an “internal armed conflict” caused by Rohingya militant attacks on government security posts.
While neither the rulings of the International Court of Justice nor the resolutions of the UN General Assembly have any binding effect, they are seen as reflecting world opinion.
Myanmar’s security forces are accused of killings, gangrape and arson during a crackdown that drove more than 730,000 people to flee western Rakhine state for neighbouring Bangladesh after some Rohingya insurgents attacked police posts in August 2017. However, Myanmar has rejected the accusations and maintained that the crackdown only targeted militant separatists.