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Rohingya still fleeing violence, persecution in Myanmar: UN Rights boss


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Monday, 9 July 2018 00:00


  • Fresh killings, 
  • burning of houses reported in northern Rakhine
  •  More than 11,400 Rohingya have fled so far this year, says Zeid
  •  Myanmar official says Government aims to protect rights of all
  •  UN Rights boss tells Myanmar envoy: “Have you no shame, sir?”

GENEVA (Reuters): Muslim Rohingya continue to flee Myanmar’s Rakhine state, many testifying about violence, persecution, killings and burning of their homes by soldiers and Buddhists, the United Nations Human Rights Chief said last week.



Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, in his final remarks to the Human Rights Council before stepping down on 31 Aug, questioned a top Myanmar official’s assertion that the Government was committed to defending the rights of all, not those of any one community.

“In my four years as High Commissioner, I have heard many preposterous claims. That claim is almost in its own category of absurdity,” Zeid said. “Have you no shame, sir, have you no shame? We are not fools.”

The Myanmar official, Foreign Ministry Director General Kyaw Moe Tun, did not reply to Zeid’s comments, which closed the two-hour debate. After the session, he could not be reached for comment.

Earlier, Kyaw said during the debate that Zeid’s report contained information that was “distorted or exaggerated”. He blamed the violence on militants who attacked Myanmar government forces.

“The root cause of the tragedy was terrorism, and terrorism cannot be condoned under any circumstance,” Kyaw said.

So far this year, 11,432 Rohingya have reached Bangladesh, where more than 700,000 have fled since an August military crackdown in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state, Zeid said.“No amount of rhetoric can whitewash these facts. People are still fleeing persecution in Rakhine and are even willing to risk dying at sea to escape,” he added.

Many Rohingya refugees also report being pressured by Myanmar authorities to accept a national verification card that says they need to apply for citizenship, he added.

The citizenship issue is at the core of discussions on their status, Zeid said, adding that the cards “mark the Rohingya as non-citizens, in keeping with the Government’s characterisation of them as foreigners in their own homeland”.

 

 


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