YANGON: Amnesty International calls for a "firm resolution" on Myanmar's treatment of its Muslim minority Rohingya, while the country becomes the focus of a rare special session of the UN Human Rights Council later on. Tuesday, December 5th.
The Myanmar army denies accusations by the UN and the United States that it has committed ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya in the north of Rakhine State.
An army-led offensive has forced 620,000 people to flee to squalid camps in Bangladesh in recent months, leaving hundreds of villages burned.
Before the council session in Geneva, Amnesty urged members to keep up the pressure and said Myanmar-majority authorities are committing crimes against humanity that continue "on a daily basis". .
"The Council must now step up and pbad a strong resolution that sends a clear message to the government and the Myanmar army that their abhorrent treatment of the Rohingya must end." immediately, and that the perpetrators will not enjoy impunity, "said James Gomez, regional director of Amnesty for South-East Asia and the Pacific.
Human rights groups say they are still fleeing Myanmar and joining refugees who report rapes, badbadinations and arson.
The army justified the repression as a proportionate response to the deadly attacks of the Rohingya militants on the border police on August 25.
On Tuesday, the New Myanmar Global Light backed by the state claimed it had been a "gradual return to normalcy in the region."
The rights council rarely holds special sessions, which can only be convened at the request of at least one third of its members. 47 member states or 16 countries.
The session comes amid the growing scrutiny of UN member states, and in March the rights council approved a mission. to Myanmar to investigate alleged crimes by the security forces, particularly in Rakhine.
Myanmar refused to cooperate and blocked access to the team of researchers, who began their work outside the country.
After months of disputes, Myanmar and Bangladesh signed an agreement on November 23 to begin repatriating refugees within two months. But rights groups say that conditions are not established to guarantee safe, voluntary and dignified returns.
The council meeting comes a week after an exciting visit of Pope Francis to both countries.
The pontiff met with a group of Rohingya Dhaka in a symbolic gesture of solidarity after publicly avoiding addressing the sensitive issue in Myanmar, where he held private talks with the powerful army chief and civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Aung San Suu Kyi has been the target of global virulence for a perceived failure to defend the stateless minority. But she remains a hero to most of her compatriots, who regard the Rohingya as unwanted illegal immigrants from Bangladesh to a large extent.
Amnesty also urges the rights council to discuss "far-reaching human rights violations," says that Myanmar security forces against other ethnic minorities are being committed by Myanmar.
Many of the country's borders are involved in long-term conflicts, in which allegations of extrajudicial executions, disappearances, torture and forced labor are common.
"The Council resolution should reflect this and ask Myanmar to put an immediate end to human rights violations against minorities in all parts of the country," Amnesty's Gómez said in a statement.