UN Rights Resolution Would Condemn Abuses Against Rohingyas

A Rohingya Muslim woman, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, lies unconscious on the shore of the Bay of Bangal in 2017 after the boat she was traveling in capsized at Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh. Photo: Dar Yasin / Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS — A draft U.N. resolution would strongly condemn the continuing “gross human rights violations and abuses” against Rohingya Muslims and urgently call on Myanmar’s government to end discrimination and provide a path to citizenship for the embattled minority.

The draft resolution, sponsored by the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation, more than 25 European countries and Canada, was officially circulated Wednesday. The General Assembly’s human rights committee is expected to vote on the measure on Nov. 15.

The draft expresses deep concern that violence against the Rohingya has forced over 723,000 people to flee to Bangladesh since August 2017.

The Rohingya have long been treated as outsiders in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, even though their families have lived in the country for generations. Nearly all have been denied citizenship since 1982, effectively rendering them stateless, and they are also denied freedom of movement and other basic rights.

The latest crisis began with attacks by an underground Rohingya insurgent group on Myanmar security personnel in August 2017 in northern Rakhine State. Myanmar’s military responded with a brutal campaign and is accused of mass rape, killings and setting fire to thousands of homes.

The draft resolution reiterates “deep distress” at reports that unarmed Rohingyas are still being subjected to excessive use of force and rights violations by Myanmar’s military and security forces including killings and rapes. And it expresses “deep concern” at the continuing departure of the remaining Rohingya population as well as members of other minorities.

The proposed resolution expresses “grave concern” at the findings of the U.N. fact-finding mission on Myanmar, which concluded that some top Myanmar military leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide against the Rohingya.

It strongly condemns all rights abuses set out in the commission’s report and calls for “a full and independent investigation” of human rights abuses against the Rohingya and other minorities.

The draft notes Myanmar’s establishment of an independent commission to investigate alleged violations, but stresses that it must work “with independence, impartiality, transparency and objectivity in a credible way in line with international standards” — unlike its previous national investigations. And it encouraged the government commission “to seek support and expertise from the United Nations and the international community.”

The proposed resolution would also reiterate an urgent call on Myanmar’s government to take measures “to address the spread of discrimination and prejudice and to combat the incitement of hatred against Rohingya Muslims and other persons belonging to minorities, including Kachin and Shan.”

And the government should “expedite efforts to eliminate statelessness and the systematic and institutionalized discrimination against members of ethnic and religious minorities,” the draft says.

The draft resolution also addresses the military’s control over much of Myanmar’s government.

“To sustain the democratic transition of Myanmar by bringing all national institutions, including the military, under the democratically elected civilian government,” it says.