Yangon: Myanmar rebutted the accusations of violation of human rights in Rakhine state following reports by the UN that there was evidence of genocide and ethnic cleansing.
“Myanmar continues its efforts at putting Rakhine state back on the road to development and stability while still facing terrorism, funded and inspired from abroad,” government mouthpiece Global New Light of Myanmar said in an editorial.
The newspaper said that it was an attack by the militants of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) that had led to military operations in Rakhine in August 2017, which prompted the exodus of people, mostly Rohingya Muslims, to Bangladesh. It also suggested that, according to interviews conducted by Myanmar officials in Rakhine, many people left their homes owing to lack of jobs, food and threats from the ARSA.
On Monday, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, said in Geneva that the Myanmar government led by Aung San Suu Kyi must be held accountable together with the military for the crimes committed against the Rohingyas, Efe news reported. Myanmar’s Army has been accused of murder, raping women and girls and burning Rohingya villages during the military operation in August 2017, which has led over 680,000 people to flee.
However, Myanmar’s Permanent Representative to the UN U Htin Lynn denied the human rights violations and called on the international community to contribute to the democratisation and construction of the region. “History will be the ultimate judge of what has occurred in Rakhine state,” U Htin Lynn was quoted as saying by the daily.
At a dialogue on Myanmar’s human rights situation during the ongoing 37th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, U Htin Lynn said it was “unreasonable to assert that Myanmar leadership remains indifferent to the allegations of grave human rights violation”. “The leadership and the government shall never tolerate such crime. Myanmar is ready to take action when there is clear evidence,” he said.
Last week, the Myanmar military also rejected the EU Foreign Affairs Council’s latest charges on the Rakhine issue, saying that the one-sided accusations will badly impact the Myanmar armed forces’ implementation of law and order, state security and participation in the democracy transition as well as the government’s rehabilitation of the conflict-torn area.
Myanmar and Bangladesh signed an agreement in November on the return of displaced persons from Bangladesh, who fled the Rakhine conflict.