Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee gives her report to the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva. Picture: Denis Balibouse/Reuters
Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee gives her report to the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva. Picture: Denis Balibouse/Reuters

Myanmar government using starvation policy in Rakhine: UN expert

By Time of article published Mar 12, 2018

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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.

Reuters

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