Myanmar rejects UN probe on Rohingya abuses

Rohingya refugees attending a ceremony to remember the first anniversary of a military crackdown that prompted a massive exodus of people from Myanmar to Bangladesh, at the Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhia, on Aug 25, 2018.
Rohingya refugees attending a ceremony to remember the first anniversary of a military crackdown that prompted a massive exodus of people from Myanmar to Bangladesh, at the Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhia, on Aug 25, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

YANGON (AFP) - Myanmar rejected the findings of a UN probe alleging genocide by its military against the Rohingya, a government spokesman said, in the country's first response to a damning report on the crisis.

"We didn't allow the FFM (the UN Fact-Finding Mission) to enter into Myanmar, that's why we don't agree and accept any resolutions made by the Human Rights Council," which gave its scathing assessment on Monday, said spokesman Zaw Htay, according to the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

The report by UN investigators called on the Security Council to refer the Myanmar situation to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, or to create an ad hoc international criminal tribunal, as was done with the former Yugoslavia.

The UN-backed fact-finding mission said that Myanmar's "top military generals, including Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, must be investigated and prosecuted for genocide in the north of Rakhine State."

The crimes it cited after a long inquiry included murder, enforced disappearance, torture and sexual violence "perpetrated on a massive scale."

Some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled northern Rakhine state to Bangladesh after Myanmar launched a brutal crackdown in August last year on insurgents amid accounts of arson, murder and rape at the hands of soldiers and vigilante mobs in the mainly Buddhist country.

Several countries, including the United States, called for Myanmar military leaders accused of orchestrating the repression of the country's Rohingya minority to be brought before international justice. "The facts of the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya must be said, and they must be heard," said Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, on Tuesday (Aug 28).