UN human rights chief calls for ICC probe into Myanmar Rohingya crisis

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid Bin Ra’ad warned on Wednesday that Myanmar should “have some shame” after attempting to convince the world that it is willing to take back hundreds of thousands of refugees who fled an “ethnic cleansing campaign” last year, given that “not a single” one has returned officially.

Addressing the Human Rights Council after giving an update on the refugee crisis that has seen more than 700,000 Rohingya people flee to Bangladesh to escape a security clampdown in Myanmar, the high commissioner urged the UN Security Council to refer the Member State to the International Criminal Court (ICC) immediately.

He also responded to the Myanmar government representative’s comments that it was a “body committed to the defense of human rights”.

This, UN human rights chief said, “almost creates a new category of absurdity” � a first during his mandate as the UN’s top human rights official. “In the four years that I have been High Commissioner, I have heard many preposterous claims,” he said. “This claim, that I have just stated now, almost creates a new category of absurdity. Have some shame sir. Have some shame. We are not fools.” Earlier at the Human Rights Council, the Prince said that Myanmar had “expended considerable energy” challenging allegations that its security forces carried out ethnic cleansing against the mainly Muslim Rohingya.

In January, he continued, the government of Myanmar had signed a repatriation deal with Bangladesh, which continues to host the communities who fled their homes last August. Despite this agreement, “not a single Rohingya refugee has returned under the formal framework agreed with Bangladesh”, he said, while “many � if not all � of those who have returned have been detained”.

Citing one example, the high commissioner said that between January and April this year, 58 Rohingya who returned were arrested and convicted on unspecified charges.

“They then received a Presidential pardon, but have simply been transferred from Buthidaung prison (in northern Rakhine province) to a so-called ‘reception center’,” he explained, adding that all the while more Rohingya continue to seek shelter in Bangladesh. The UN human rights chief noted that as of mid-June, there have been 11,432 new arrivals there.

On the issue of ICC involvement in the issue, as he had urged, he also noted that the results of its fact-finding mission to Myanmar were due to be submitted “in a matter of weeks.

Source: Jordan News Agency