UN Chief ‘Horrified’ at Alleged Abuses by Myanmar Forces

The then United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres speaks in 2015 during a news conference at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Photo: Salvatore Di Nolfi / Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “was horrified” at the recent report on alleged sexual abuses by security forces in Myanmar against the Muslim Rohingya ethnic minority.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric gave the U.N. chief’s reaction Tuesday to the report by U.S.-based Human Rights Watch.

The rights group alleged that soldiers and Border Guard Police took part in rape, gang rape, invasive body searches and sexual assaults while conducting counter-insurgency operations in western Rakhine state from October through mid-December.

Human Rights Watch urged Myanmar’s government on Monday to back an independent international investigation.

The estimated 1 million Rohingya face official and social discrimination in Buddhist-majority Myanmar. Most are regarded as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Many fled home during communal violence in 2012 and over 100,000 live in refugee camps.