Myanmar: UN rights chief denounces ethnic cleansing

UN human rights official has urged Myanmar to end 'brutal security operations' against the Rohingya people, calling it a 'textbook example of ethnic cleansing'

Photo: The Nation
Photo: The Nation

Top UN human rights official Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, has urged Myanmar to end “brutal security operations” against the Rakhine state, more specifically in Rohingya, calling it a “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

He addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, claiming that over 270,000 people had fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar, with even more being trapped at the border. This comes about following reports of extrajucicial killings and the burning of villages.

Since the late 1970s, nearly one million Rohingya have fled Myanmar due to widespread persecution. Photo: Al Jazeera
Since the late 1970s, nearly one million Rohingya have fled Myanmar due to widespread persecution. Photo: Al Jazeera

"I call on the government to end its current cruel military operation, with accountability for all violations that have occurred, and to reverse the pattern of severe and widespread discrimination against the Rohingya population," Zeid said.

Zied’s warning comes a day after Bangladesh's foreign minister said "a genocide" is being waged in the country's violence-hit Rakhine state.

"The international community is saying it is a genocide. We also say it is a genocide," Abul Hassan Mahmud Ali told reporters in Dhaka on Sunday.

Ali described actions following the attacks on security forces on August 25 as "revenge" by Myanmar troops.

“Should all people be killed? Should all villages be burnt? It is not acceptable”, he said, going on to say that Dhaka was seeking a peaceful resolution and not a “war” against Myanmar.

"We did not create the problem. Since the problem started in Myanmar, that's why they should resolve. We have said we'll help them," he said, adding that the problem took a "new turn" after the August 25 attacks.

The minister's comments come as the chair of Bangladesh's National Commission for Human Rights said leading figures in Myanmar could face trial for "genocide" at an international tribunal.

Member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHCR) Kazi Reazul Hoque said: “The way the genocide has been carried out in Myanmar, the way the people were killed in arson attacks, we are thinking about pressing for a trial against Myanmar and against the Myanmar army, at an international tribunal."

“We will come to a decision after assessing what are the steps that should be taken to that end. And at the same time we urge the international community to come forward with their help," Hoque said.

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