ePaper

Monday, June 25, 2018

Myanmar says it would like to see 'clear evidence' of genocide

  • Print
Myanmar wants to see clear evidence to support accusations that ethnic cleansing or genocide has been perpetrated against its Muslim minority in Rakhine state, National Security Adviser Thaung Tun said on Thursday.

“The vast majority of the Muslim community that was living in Rakhine remain,” he told reporters in Geneva. “If it was a genocide, they would all be driven out.”

Nearly 700,000 Rohingya have fled Rakhine into neighboring Bangladesh since insurgent attacks sparked a security crackdown in August, joining 200,000 refugees from a previous exodus.

On Wednesday, UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said he strongly suspected “acts of genocide”, while Myanmar’s military published a lengthy response to widespread allegations over its campaign in Rakhine, saying its investigations had cleared troops of almost all alleged abuses.

Zeid told the UN Human Rights Council that reports of bulldozing of alleged mass graves were a “deliberate attempt by the authorities to destroy evidence of potential international crimes, including possible crimes against humanity”.


Thaung Tun said charges of ethnic cleansing and genocide were very serious and should not be bandied about lightly.

“We have often heard many accusations that there is ethnic cleansing or even genocide in Myanmar. And I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – it is not the policy of the government, and this we can assure you. Although there are accusations, we would like to have clear evidence,” he said.

“We should look into that before making a pronouncement on whether there is ethnic cleansing or genocide.”

Myanmar has not allowed UN investigators into the country to investigate. A UN fact-finding mission is due to report on Monday on its initial findings, based on interviews with victims and survivors in Bangladesh and other countries.

Thaung Tun added that Myanmar was willing to accept back people who had fled and provide safety and dignity for them, showing that it did not want them out of the country, and that only a minority of Rakhine’s population of 3 million had left.

He said the Muslims who fled largely did so because the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) armed group had sowed fear. He accused ARSA of having forced villagers to join their attacks on the security forces and had insisted on a scorched earth policy, burning villages in retreat.

Rohingya trace their presence in Rakhine back centuries. But most people in majority-Buddhist Myanmar consider them to be unwanted Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh. The army refers to the Rohingya as “Bengalis,” and most lack citizenship.

Thaung Tun said former residents would be welcomed back if they were willing to “participate in the life of the nation”, for example by learning the Burmese language.

“Those who want to become citizens of Myanmar, we are happy to welcome them, but they have to go through a process. There cannot be automatic citizenship,” he said.

More News For this Category

Australia provides additional funds for Rohingyas, locals

| By Asian Age Online
Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop has announced an additional humanitarian funding package of AUD 18.4 million to meet the urgent needs of Rohingya
Australia provides additional funds for Rohingyas, locals

SC order on Khaleda's bail in another Cumilla case Tuesday

| By Asian Age Online
The Supreme Court on Monday fixed Tuesday for passing an order on a leave-to-appeal filed against a High-court order that granted bail to
SC order on Khaleda's bail in another Cumilla case Tuesday

Burgener wraps up visit to Myanmar; underlines accountability

| By Asian Age Online
Special envoy of the UN Secretary General on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener wrapped up her first official visit to Myanmar and underlined the importance
Burgener wraps up visit to Myanmar; underlines accountability

International assistance urgently needed for Rohingyas: AI

| By Asian Age Online
Amnesty International on Wednesday called on the international community to urgently step up international assistance for more than 900,000 Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar District
International assistance urgently needed for Rohingyas: AI

Struggle to protect Rohingyas ahead of monsoon

| By Asian Age Online
International aid agencies and Bangladesh authorities are struggling to protect hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees against deadly monsoon landslides and floods ahead of
Struggle to protect Rohingyas ahead of monsoon

Rohingya girls dream of going school

| By Asian Age Online
Trapped inside "prison-like" tents in Bangladesh's refugee camps because of fears they will be trafficked or sexually harassed, teenage Rohingya girls
Rohingya girls dream of going school

Rohingya leader hacked to death at Balukhali camp

| By Asian Age Online
A Rohingya leader was hacked to death in front of the distribution center at Balukhali camp by so-called "opponent group" on Monday night.
Rohingya leader hacked to death at Balukhali camp

Rohingya refugees mark first Eid in Bangladesh camps

| By Asian Age Online
As Muslims around the world celebrated Eid with feasting and gift-giving, Rohingya refugees in squalid Bangladesh camps marked the festival Saturday with a peaceful
Rohingya refugees mark first Eid in Bangladesh camps

Tree collapse kills Rohingya man in Cox's Bazar

| By Asian Age Online
A Rohingya man was killed as a tree collapsed on him due to strong wind and heavy rainfall in Jamtoli area of Balukhali Rohingya
Tree collapse kills Rohingya man in Cox's Bazar

Pressure on Myanmar building afresh to take back Rohingyas

| By Asian Age Online
International pressure on Myanmar is mounting afresh as it remained 'very slow' in creating conditions for the safe return of Rohingyas from Bangladesh.
Pressure on Myanmar building afresh to take back Rohingyas

© 2018 The Asian Age