GENEVA â€” U.N. human rights investigators have chronicled new accounts of crimes including beatings, disappearances, gang rapes and brutal killings of children as young as 8 months old by Myanmar security forces against the Muslim Rohingya minority.
A 43-page report from the United Nations human rights office released Friday says crimes against humanity were “very likely” committed, and cites accounts from “in-depth interviews” by U.N. staffers of 204 people who had fled to
“The vast majority reported witnessing killings, and almost half reported having a family member who was killed as well as family members who were missing,” rights office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told reporters in Geneva. “Of the 101 women interviewed, more than half reported having suffered rape or other forms of sexual violence.”
The report is likely to raise pressure on the governing party of Nobel Peace Prize-winning Aung San Suu Kyi amid numerous allegations that soldiers have been killing and raping Rohingya and burning their homes, and targeting people based on their religion and ethnicity. The Rohingya have long faced discrimination in Rakhine state, where many Rohingya live and tensions have been high with the Buddhist community.
Mosques were occupied by soldiers, used as sites for rape or burned down, the report said.
Shamdasani cited “especially revolting” accounts of children being “slaughtered with knives” and said one 8-month-old infant was reportedly killed while his mother was gang-raped by five security officers.
“What kind of hatred could make a man stab a baby crying out for his mother’s milk?” U.N. rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said in a statement.
Zeid, a Jordanian prince known by his first name, deployed the team after Myanmar’s government denied repeated requests for access to the worst-hit areas of Rakhine state. The regions are also almost totally closed off to journalists.
He called on Myanmar’s government to “immediately halt these grave human rights violations.” The U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said reports indicated that the intensity and frequency of security forces’ operations had declined this year, but are continuing.
Shamdasani said the allegations in the report had been presented to Myanmar authorities, but she declined to indicate what the response was, deferring to government officials.
The Associated Press