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Rohingya actions in Myanmar could be genocide, says UN official

Myanmar authorities have made few concessions to international criticism of their military actions against the Rohingya, who appear to be widely popular among the country's majority Buddhist population. In a recent visit to Myanmar, Pope Francis did not publicly use the word "Rohingya," and was criticized for that decision. He later said that using the term "would have been a closed door".

The campaign of the security forces is already the subject of an investigative mission of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, whose report is expected in March. Mr. al-Hussein sought on Tuesday to increase pressure by urging the United Nations General Assembly to establish a separate body to investigate the individual criminal responsibility of the authorities involved in operations in Myanmar.

The investigation team has so far been denied access to Myanmar, but team president Marzuki Darusman said he had still been able to gather meaningful information from the refugees and had heard many allegations of "extreme gravity", including genocide.

"We have not come to a conclusion on these issues, but we take those allegations very seriously and we examine them in depth," he told the council in a videotaped video.

Additional investigations by Pramila Patten, the UN special representative who deals with sexual matters, violence in the conflict focuses on reports of widespread sexual assaults committed by the Myanmar army.

Mrs. Patten told the human rights panel on Tuesday that he had heard "the most painful and heartrending accounts of sexual atrocities committed in cold blood from a lethal hatred against these people solely because of their ethnicity and religion." The testimony was compiled of Rohingyas women who had escaped to Bangladesh.

The refugees described to him, he said, how women and girls had died while raped by gangs of men, or were raped and then left to die when their houses were burned down. The killing of babies, the next generation of Rohingya, was a recurring feature in women's testimony, he said.

Diplomats and human rights groups said the special council session, convened with the unusually broad support of council members and interregional support, underscored Myanmar's international isolation on the issue and pressure on its rulers to ease the crisis.

Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, army commander, told officers who graduated from the Defense Services Academy this weekend that the troops had "strictly followed orders and acted according to the rules of engagement during the recent Rakhine crisis. " [19659011] Htin Lynn, Myanmar's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, who responded in the forum on Tuesday to the grim recital of atrocities, said: "People will say what they want to believe." And sometimes they will say what they were told to say "

Mr. Lynn said that Myanmar was ready to work with the United Nations to improve the situation in Rakhine, he said that the country was working with Bangladesh to begin the repatriation of refugees Rohingya after two months.

United Nations agencies, however, insist that the conditions for the voluntary and safe repatriation of refugees do not yet exist.The aid agencies, with the exception of the Red Cross International and the World Food Program are still not allowed to work in Rakhine, which has prevented a thorough evaluation of the destruction after the military operations that burned hundreds of villages, or of the assistance refugees would need if they returned.

No there must be repatriation without sustained international monitoring of conditions, said al-Hussein the council.

"The world can not tolerate a She hastened to get dressed in these shocking atrocities, "he said," returning people to conditions of severe discrimination and latent violence. "

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