A UN human rights envoy said that hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslim refugees won’t be able to return to Myanmar soon because of threats to their safety in the Buddhist-majority nation.
Myanmar has been criticised by global rights groups and many nations for state-sponsored violence against ethnic minorities.
Yanghee Lee, the UN special rapporteur on human rights spent 10 days in Thailand and Bangladesh, speaking to refugees living in Bangladesh, authorities, UN agencies and international experts. More than 700,000 Rohingya refugees have fled into Bangladesh since late August 2017. “It is clear that Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh cannot return to Myanmar in the near future,” she said.
She said violence against the Rohingya by the Myanmar army in Rakhine state that prompted them to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh “bear the hallmarks of genocide”. Myanmar has repeatedly turned down her request for allowing her to visit the country.
Myanmar has rejected all the allegations that any crimes against humanity and genocide took place. Global rights groups have called the country’s top military officials to be tried for their alleged roles in the killing and rapes of Rohingya.
Lee said the violence against other minority groups must also end in Myanmar.
“Its campaign of violence against ethnic minorities, including the Rohingya, the Kayin, the Kachin and the Shan, must end,” she said.