UN launches probe of crimes against Rohingya in Myanmar

Rohingya

United Nations rights body has agreed to send a fact-finding mission to Myanmar to investigate alleged abuses by security forces against Rohingya Muslims.

Tens of thousands of people have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state since the military began a security operation last October  2016 in response to what it says was an attack by Rohingya armed men on border posts, in which nine police officers were killed.

A UN report issued last month, based on interviews with 220 Rohingya among 75,000 who have fled to Bangladesh since October, said that Myanmar’s security forces have committed mass killings and gang rapes of Rohingya in a campaign that “very likely” amounts to crimes against humanity and possibly ethnic cleansing.

The council, however, stopped short of calling for a Commission of Inquiry – the world body’s highest level investigation – into the violence. The move is likely to mitigate any potential hardline response from the Junta of Myanmar.

What would be Myanmar response?

Myanmar has already rebuffed the UN decision. On 25th of March, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs cited that the establishment of an international fact-finding mission would do more to inflame, rather than resolve the issues at this time. The Ministry though stopped short of saying it would block the UN-backed probe.

In reality, we might see a more receptive Myanmar to the fact-finding mission. Given a number of incentives the country is receiving from its fledgling open door policy, any risk associated with the potential return of sanctions will be avoided.

The Military, however, may employ various modalities to mitigate or cover up malpractices.

Unofficial reports in late 2016 suggested the Military populated empty Rohingya villages with Bengali Hindus.  Similar in physical resemblance, the Bengali Hindus are paid to deny atrocities and provide positive feedback to visiting UN Advisory Commission on Rakhine State.

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