Myanmar Rejects Reports That It Committed Extreme Human Rights Violations
U.N. Special Rapporteur to Myanmar Yanghee Lee speaks at a press conference after reporting to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday.
Two reports to the United Nations have found that Myanmar has carried out extreme human rights violations against the Rohingya people, abuses that are most likely crimes under international law.
The U.N. Human Rights Council heard both reports on Monday: one from the Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, and another from Yanghee Lee, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar.
The government of Myanmar rejected both reports, saying their claims are unsupported, according to the Associated Press. Investigators have been barred by the government from entering Myanmar, and so have relied on interviews with refugees and others in Bangladesh, Malaysia and Thailand.
"The body of information and materials we are collecting is concrete and overwhelming," the experts of the Fact-Finding Mission said in their oral report. "It points at human rights violations of the most serious kind, in all likelihood amounting to crimes under international law."
The mission's report was based on over 600 in-depth interviews with victims and witnesses. Investigators also analyzed satellite imagery, photos and video footage.
"Any denial of the seriousness of the situation in Rakhine, the reported human rights violations, and the suffering of the victims, is untenable," they said.
"We have hundreds of credible accounts of the most harrowing nature."
The mission found that so-called "clearance operations" by Myanmar security forces had driven nearly 700,000 Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh si