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Rights group slams UN, EU for blocking independent probe into Rohingya plight



A Europe-based rights group has slammed the global community, particularly the UN and the EU, for hindering an independent probe into Myanmar’s crimes against Rohingya Muslims, warning that the persecuted minority group is suffering a “slow-burning genocide.”

In a Friday interview with Turkey’s Anadolu Agency, Chairman of the European Rohingya Council Hla Kyaw expressed dissatisfaction with the outcome of the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council, which opened in Geneva on February 23 and will close on March 24, saying the EU, the UN and some other states failed Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims at the event.

“The international community is so reluctant to support an international, independent investigation committee to investigate Myanmar’s crimes against humanity,” said chairman of the European Rohingya Council Hla Kyaw in a Friday interview with Turkey’s Anadolu Agency.

“It is a crime against Rohingya people, a crime against humanity and it is a slow-burning genocide,” he further underlined.

Myanmar’s Rakhine State, where Rohingya are mainly based, has been under a military siege since October 2016 over a raid on a police post that was blamed on Rohingya-linked militants. A four-month crackdown on the minority group has seen some 75,000 Rohingya Muslims flee to Bangladesh.

UN investigators, who interviewed Rohingya escapees in neighboring Bangladesh, have blamed Myanmar’s government forces for responding with a campaign of murder, gang rape and arson that they say may amount to genocide.

In report last month, Reuters cited two UN officials dealing with refugees fleeing violence as saying that some 1,000 Rohingya Muslims may have been killed in Myanmar’s army crackdown on the minority group.

Kyaw further criticized the UN for supporting an investigation commission established by Myanmar’s military “to investigate the very crimes committed by the military.”

He also accused European governments of backing Myanmar’s authorities and State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi for the sake of their economic and political ties.

Myanmar ethnic Rohingya Muslims shout slogans during a protest against the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, December 4, 2016. (Photo by AP)

“They always give them [Myanmar] space and time,” Kyaw said. “As a Rohingya organization we ask only one simple question: ‘How long, how much more do we need to suffer? Until we are eliminated from the soil of Arakan (former name of Rakhine State)? How much time do you need?’”

The activist further said the international community was expected at the Geneva event to unanimously agree “to set up an independent international investigation to investigate these crimes against humanity,” Kyaw emphasized.

He made the remarks a day after the Advisory Commission on Rakhine, led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, released a draft report highlighting the need for initiating independent and impartial investigations into widely-reported allegations of atrocities committed by Myanmar’s military forces against the minority group

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein as well as the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, recently called for the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to establish a Commission of Inquiry into the situation in Rakhine State.

On Monday, Yanghee Lee, the UN special rapporteur on Myanmar, warned that the Southeast Asian country may be seeking to “expel” all members of the Rohingya Muslim community from its territory.

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