Myanmar military report denies atrocities against Rohingya

Wednesday, 15 Nov, 2017

The U.N. migration agency reports that human trafficking and exploitation are rife among Rohingya who have fled to Bangladesh, not only recently but in past years, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters at U.N. headquarters in NY.

Myanmar's army released a report on Monday denying all allegations of rape and killings by security forces, having days earlier replaced the general in charge of the operation that drove more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh.

Myanmar political analyst Yan Myo Thein said the omission of the Rohingya crisis from the statement could reflect ASEAN's policy of noninterference in the internal affairs of member states.

Amnesty International also dismissed the military's internal investigation and called for a United Nations fact-finding mission and for other independent investigators to be given full access to Rakhine.

"People expected that this subject would be discussed during the summit", he said.

Suu Kyi has said that any alleged atrocities should be substantiated and investigated, while her government is working to stabilise Rakhine in order for the Rohingyas to return.

"She has said what she will do, and ASEAN must make comments on Myanmar only after waiting and seeing what she does", he said.

The UN's migration agency on Tuesday warned of the trafficking, exploitation and sexual abuse of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

In a recent report, United Nations investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

Myanmar's government does not allow independent journalists to travel freely to the parts of Rakhine state where most of the latest violence has taken place.

The military's self-exoneration came as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson prepared to visit Myanmar today for talks with leaders.

Washington, D.C. -based Refugees International called on Tillerson on Tuesday to recognize the Rohingya crisis as ethnic cleansing, a term that the USA government has so far refused to use.

"Once again, Myanmar's military is trying to sweep serious violations against the Rohingya under the carpet", said James Gomez, Amnesty International's Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific in a statement yesterday.

Dujarric said the number of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh has increased to 618,000 over the weekend.

Myanmar authorities gave Bangladesh a list with the names of 1,000 people deemed terrorists during a six-day conference on security and law enforcement between the Myanmar Police Force and Border Guard Bangladesh, which began on Monday in Myanmar's capital Naypyidaw.

Speaking in September, Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali said around 3,000 Rohingya had been killed in the crackdown.

"We have seen a great need for shelter for these people". Translated by Khet Mar.