Greater engagement sought from Dhaka to address rights concerns
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has reiterated that no Rohingya repatriation should take place in the absence of sustained human rights monitoring on the ground, in the areas concerned.
“In Myanmar, as the Council is aware, there are clear indications of well-organized, widespread and systematic attacks continuing to target the Rohingyas in Rakhine State as an ethnic group, amounting possibly to acts of genocide if so established by a court of law,” he said.
The UN rights chief made the observation while delivering his opening statement and global update of human rights concerns at 38th session of the Human Rights Council on Monday in Geneva.
Zeid said although Myanmar has stated that it will investigate allegations and prosecute alleged perpetrators, its actions to date have not met minimal standards of credibility or impartiality.
Due to continuing refusals to permit access, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the country Special Rapporteur and the Fact-Finding Mission have conducted remote monitoring, Zeid said.
He also mentioned the memorandum of understanding (MoU) that the government of Myanmar has established with UNDP and UNHCR for the repatriation of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh.
Zeid said Bangladesh has granted extensive and commendable access to the Office and all relevant human rights mechanisms with respect to the Rohingya refugee crisis.
“However, it has more than 10 outstanding requests for visits by mandate holders to assess the human rights situation in Bangladesh itself,” he said.
Zeid encouraged greater engagement, particularly with respect to concerns about the shrinking space for civil society, and allegations of extrajudicial actions by the security forces.
Regarding engagement with the Treaty Bodies, he welcomed long-outstanding reports to the Committees by Bangladesh, Cabo Verde, Central African Republic, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Tonga and Zambia.
In Kachin and northern Shan States, conflict has again escalated since October last year, and longstanding and widely reported human rights violations in the country include allegations of extrajudicial killings; enforced disappearances; torture and inhuman treatment; rape and other forms of sexual violence; forced labour; recruitment of children into armed forces; and indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks arising from conflicts between security forces and armed groups, he said.