Myanmar government using starvation policy in Rakhine: UN expert
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Geneva - The Myanmar government
appears to be pursuing a policy of starvation in Rakhine state
to force out the remaining Muslim Rohingya population, a UN investigator said on Monday.
The military has also started new offensives in Kachin and
Kayin states, Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee told the United
Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Lee said atrocities against the Rohingya Muslim minority
"bear the hallmarks of genocide". She called for the council to
set up an entity in Bangladesh, where more than 650 000 Rohingya
have fled, to collect evidence for potential trials.
Myanmar's envoy Htin Lynn rejected Lee's remarks and called
for the council to fire her.
Lee said the violence in Rakhine had eclipsed anything seen
in recent years in Myanmar, where the government has also fought
insurgents in Shan, Kayin and Kachin states.
She had received information that the military mounted new
ground offensives last week using heavy artillery in Kachin's
gold and amber-mining area of Tanai.
Myanmar's military had also advanced into Mutraw District
in Kayin State, an area controlled by the Karen National Union,
despite a ceasefire agreement, she said.
"This ceasefire violation led to 1,500 villagers from 15
villages having to flee. I am very concerned about these
continuing offensives; the path to peace is through inclusive
political dialogue, and not through military force," she said.
In Rakhine state, Myanmar appeared to be pursuing a policy
of forced starvation to make life there unsustainable for the
Rohingya, Lee said.
Marzuki Darusman, chairman of a fact-finding mission on
Myanmar set up by the council, said his team had received a
flood of allegations against the security forces in Rakhine,
Kachin, Shan and elsewhere.
"All the information collected by the Fact-Finding Mission
so far further points to violence of an extremely cruel nature,
including against women," he said.
"The Fact-Finding Mission has met with women who showed
fresh and deep bite marks on their faces and bodies sustained
during acts of sexual violence."
Myanmar's ambassador Lynn did not respond to the criticism
in detail but told the council it was wrong to assert that
Myanmar's leadership remained indifferent to the allegations.
"Our leadership and the government shall never tolerate such
crimes. We are ready to take action, where there is the
evidence," he said.