UK secretary to visit Myanmar after damning UN report

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to ‘seek answers’ on ‘deeply disturbing’ facts in violence against Rohingya Muslims
LONDON: Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt will visit Myanmar to “seek answers” after a UN report on the army’s brutal atrocities and violence against the Rohingya Muslims in the country.
Calling the report “deeply disturbing” on Twitter, Hunt said “there must never be a hiding place for those who commit these kind of atrocities.”
Hunt added he has “decided to visit Burma [Myanmar] to seek answers at the earliest opportunity”.
The UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar called on Myanmar’s top military officials, including commander-in-chief Staff Min Aung Hlaing, to be tried at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for genocide committed against Rohingya Muslims.
“Military necessity would never justify killing indiscriminately, gang-raping women, assaulting children, and burning entire villages. The Tatmadaw’s [Myanmar’s armed forces] tactics are consistently and grossly disproportionate to actual security threats, especially in Rakhine State, but also in northern Myanmar,” the report said.
Minister of State for Asia and The Pacific Mark Field also reacted to the damning report earlier Monday and said ”the truly horrific violence from August last year in Rakhine, come as no surprise”.
“Anyone like myself who has been engaged directly in this terrible crisis, or has spoken to Rohingya refugees, knows the Burmese military is primarily to blame for such appalling human rights violations as the widespread rape and murder of the Rohingya people,” Field said in a statement.
Underlining that the British government would “discuss options for bringing the report before the Security Council with other members once the Fact Finding Mission have made their final presentation to the Human Rights Council in September”.
Field said it is “now essential the Burmese government sets out how its Commission of Inquiry will be able to investigate these crimes with full impartiality and how it will be linked to a judicial process to hold those responsible to account”.
On Aug. 25, 2017, Myanmar launched a major military crackdown on the Muslim ethnic minority, killing almost 24,000 civilians and forcing 750,000 others including women and children to flee to Bangladesh, according to the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
The UN documented mass gang rapes, killings — including of infants and young children — brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces. In its report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.–AA

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