UN to probe abuses in Burma

The UN decided on Friday to send an international fact-finding mission to the country to investigate severe human rights abuses in Myanmar.

The 47 member UN Human Rights Council approved the resolution without holding a vote and follows a motion brought forward by the EU and other countries.

Since October 2016, tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims, a stateless minority in Myanmar/Burma, have fled into Bangladesh due to severe persecution.

In February, the UN recorded accounts of mass-rapes, killings of children and disappearances carried out by Myanmar’s security forces in a sealed off area in the country’s Rakhine State, based on over two hundred interviews with Rohingya Muslims.

Minister for foreign affairs Charlie Flanagan said he is ‘deeply concerned’ about the plight of the Rohingya people in Myanmar.

The minister was responding to a question asked by Social Democrat Roisin Shorthall when he made the remarks.

“I note with serious concern the report of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights which issued on 3 February, which outlined experiences of the Rohingya community who recently entered Bangladesh from Rakhine State,” he said.

Ireland has consistently called for an independent investigation into the alleged abuses by security forces in Rakhine State as well as the full restoration of media access to the area.

“As well as via the context of our membership of the EU and UN, Ireland has been active in raising concerns regarding the treatment of the Rohingya community at bilateral level with the authorities in Myanmar,” he added.

Violence escalated on 9 October 2016 when nine police officers were killed on border posts in Rakhine State by suspected Rohingya insurgents. Since then, over 70,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled into neighbouring Bangladesh.

Since October, over 400 people have been arrested including thirteen children – the youngest being only ten years old, according to police documents seen by Reuters.

The Rohingya people are denied citizenship by the Burmese government, who sees them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

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