Fabrice Coffrini / AFP / Getty Images
Two reports to the United Nations have found that Myanmar has carried out extreme violations of human rights against the Rohingya people, abuses that are very likely crimes under international law.
The UN Human Rights Council heard the two reports on Monday: one from the Independent Investigation Mission on Myanmar, and another from Yanghee Lee, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar.
The Myanmar government rejected both reports, saying their claims are not compatible, according to the Associated Press. The government has banned investigators from entering Myanmar, so they have relied on interviews with refugees and others in Bangladesh, Malaysia and Thailand.
"The body of information and materials we are collecting is concrete and overwhelming," the experts of the Research Mission said in their oral report. "It points to violations of human rights of the most serious type, which in all likelihood amount to crimes under international law."
The mission report was based on more than 600 in-depth interviews with victims and witnesses. The researchers also analyzed satellite images, photos and video images.
"Any denial of the seriousness of the situation in Rakhine, the violations of human rights reported and the suffering of the victims is unsustainable," they said. "We have hundreds of credible accounts of the most harrowing nature."
The mission discovered that the so-called "demining operations" of Myanmar's security forces had taken nearly 700,000 Rohingya refugees to Bangladesh since August, and that many Rohingyas died in such operations: "People died from gunshot wounds , often because of indiscriminate shooting at the fleeing villagers, some were burned alive in their homes, often elderly, disabled and small children, others were beaten to death. "
In his statement, Lee said that the actions in the country "bear the stamp of genocide."
He interviewed more than 100 refugees in Bangladesh, and they told him terrible things: "The parents told me heartbreaking stories of witnessing their young children being thrown into the fire." The survivors described the security forces calling families to leave. their houses, separating men and boys to execute them in front of their families or take them in. I heard the testimony of women and girls raped and then murdered, some burned They live in their homes while they are unconscious or tied up. "
Lee said satellite images show that Myanmar is building military bases in places where Rohingya villages have been razed.
"This casts further doubt on the sincerity of Myanmar regarding the repatriation of the Rohingya of Bangladesh," he said. "More importantly, it will be impossible for anyone to tell where he is from or describe where he lived before if the landscape of the region has changed significantly, and there seems to be a policy of forced starvation, designed to make life in the north of Rakhine unsustainable for Rohingya that remain. "
But the Myanmar government rejected the legitimacy of the reports.
"We do not deny the violations of rights, but we ask for solid, fact-based and reliable evidence about the accusations they are making," said Myanmar government spokesman Zaw Htay. said to the AP
Facebook was also subject to scrutiny for the role played by its platform in the dissemination of hate speech, Reuters reports.
"Has … substantially contributed to the level of acrimony and dissension and conflict, if you will, within the public," Marzuki Darusman, president of the research mission, told reporters. "Of course, hate speech is part of that, as far as the situation in Myanmar is concerned, social networks are Facebook and Facebook are social networks."
Lee said that the platform had "become a beast".
"Everything is done through Facebook in Myanmar," he said, according to Reuters. "It was used to convey public messages, but we know that ultranationalist Buddhists … are actually inciting a lot of violence and a lot of hatred against the Rohingya or other ethnic minorities."