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Myanmar: Military probe team to investigate human rights abuse in Rakhine


An investigation team led by Lt. Gen. Aye Win has been formed by Myanmar's military organisation, Tatmadaw, to probe allegations of human rights violations committed by security forces in the country's northern Rakhine State.

The team which includes five senior-level military member's will find out whether there were unlawful acts, including human rights violations, committed by security forces in conducting area clearance operations.

"Officials at all levels are giving instructions and supervision to ensure that security forces stay away from using excessive force and committing human rights violations in conducting area clearance operations within the framework of the law," the Myanmar Times quoted a statement by Tatmadaw True News Information Team as saying.

"Legal action will be taken against anyone who breaks any one of the directives," the statement added.

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in a report released on February 3 said said that the widespread human rights violations against the Rohingya population by Myanmar's security forces in the country's northern Rakhine state indicate the very likely commission of crimes against humanity.

The OHCHR based on its interviews with people who fled Myanmar after attacks on a border post in early October, the ensuing counter military operations and a lockdown in north Maungdaw - documents mass gang-rape, killings, including of babies and young children, brutal beatings, disappearances and other serious human rights violations by the country's security forces.

"The devastating cruelty to which these Rohingya children have been subjected is unbearable - what kind of hatred could make a man stab a baby crying out for his mother's milk. And for the mother to witness this murder while she is being gang-raped by the very security forces who should be protecting her," said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein.

The report also cites consistent testimony indicating that hundreds of Rohingya houses, schools, markets, shops, madrasas and mosques were burned by the army, police and sometimes civilian mobs.

It also noted that several people were killed in indiscriminate and random shooting - many while fleeing for safety.

In response to OHCHR's report, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said that necessary measures will be taken by the government to determine if there is clear evidence of abuses and rights violations in northern Rakhine State.

The Ministry added the allegations contained in the report are very serious in nature and the government was also deeply concerned about it.

It further said that these allegations were being investigated by the government the government through the investigation commission.

Spokesperson from the Foreign Affairs Ministry Daw Aye Aye Soe said that the OHCHR has been asked by the ministry to supply evidences of human rights violation, but so far, no one has given any proof of the allegations being made.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Fri, February 10 2017. 18:22 IST