The UN questioned the credibility of a government-led investigation into allegations of abuses against the Muslim minority Rohingya community in Myanmar….reports Asian Lite News
“The existing Commission is not a credible option to undertake the new investigation,” UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide AdamaDieng said.
His comments follow an announcement by the Myanmar government to launch a fresh investigation into the allegations after the High Commissioner of Human Rights in a report last week refuted the clean chit given to the army by a government committee, headed by Vice president Myint Swe.
The report had blamed the army, deployed in the state of Rakhine after an alleged armed assault by Rohingya rebels in October, of carrying out ethnic cleansing in the region.
“I urge that any investigation be conducted by a truly independent and impartial body that includes international observers,” said Dieng, adding that the differences between the reports published by the government body and the UN were disturbing.
The army offensive has, meanwhile, blocked access to humanitarian aid – on which thousands of people in the region depend – and has also barred observers and independent media from accessing the northern part of the state.
The Human Rights Watch also reported fresh violence against the Rohingyas such as rape of women, including minors, by soldiers.
“These horrific attacks on Rohingya women and girls by security forces add a new and brutal chapter to the Burmese military’s long and sickening history of sexual violence against women,” said HRW’s Senior Emergencies Researcher Priyanka Motaparthy.
Motaparthy also denounced the Myanmar government for its lopsided investigation, and demanded an international and independent probe.
“The government should stop contesting these rape allegations and instead provide survivors with access to necessary support, health care, and other services,” Motaparthy added.
More than a million Rohingyas live in Rakhine, where they face increasing discrimination from the country’s authorities, who do not recognise them as Burmese citizens.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) questioned the repression on freedom of expression in Myanmar and urged the government to take steps to protect it, a media report said.
The HRW report said there has been an escalation in the suppression of opposition critics by the state authorities, Efe news reported.
The research and rights advocacy group urged the government-led by Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, to reject legislation inherited from the previous government.
The erstwhile government here was made up of ex-generals of the last military junta that criminalised opposition views, even those expressed peacefully.
“Though Burma’s new government includes more than 100 former political prisoners, it has done little to eliminate the laws used to prosecute peaceful expression,” said HRW’s Asia director Brad Adams in a statement.
“Instead, during the government’s first year there was an escalation in prosecutions of peaceful political speech,” he added.
The organisation cited, among others, the cases of two executives of the Eleven Media group, accused of defamation after reporting a corruption case involving a senior official of the National League for Democracy (NLD), Suu Kyi’s party.
According to HRW, the government has used “particularly aggressive” defamation laws, which can carry sentences of up to three years in prison, with at least 40 cases in the first eight months in power, compared to just seven in the previous two years.
“The Burmese people expected the NLD government to bring an end to this kind of repression, not add to the ranks of political prisoners,” Adams said.
Myanmar was governed by military regimes from General Ne Win’s coup in 1962 until 2011, when a transition period began that allowed the democratic movement led by Suu Kyi to win the elections and govern.