UN Security Council Should Seek Justice for Myanmar Atrocities

Rohingya dad teaches daughter taekwondo to fight poverty

It extended culpability for the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine state to Myanmar's civilian government, led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

Referring to Mrs Suu Kyi's culpability, the investigators state that "if the Nobel prize victor has such moral authority, perhaps she should act", but clarified that the biggest share of blame is placed on the military.

"The crimes in Rakhine State, and the manner in which they were perpetrated, are similar in nature, gravity and scope to those that have allowed genocidal intent to be established in other contexts", said the United Nations panel, known as the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar.

"The Fact-Finding Mission's powerful report and clear recommendations demonstrate the obvious need for concrete steps to advance criminal justice for atrocious crimes, instead of more hollow condemnations and expressions of concern", said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

Min Aung Hlaing's pages - one of which was "liked" by 1.3 million people - gave detailed running commentaries of what it said were battles with the militants.

John Packer, an expert in worldwide law and human rights at the University of Ottawa, said Canada could play a leading role by marshalling an global effort to urge the security council to refer the matter to ICC.

"Unless impunity is addressed, and all ranks within the security forces are held accountable for their past, current and future actions, similar outbreaks of violence and associated atrocity crimes can be expected to continue, with further devastating domestic and regional impact", the report states. But he expects that referring the matter to the International Criminal Court by the UN's security council will be hampered by China and Russian Federation, which have been blocked moves in past.

A year-long fact-finding mission determined that six Tatmadaw military commanders - including Commander-in-Chief Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing - are responsible for leading a campaign of genocide and other war crimes against Rohingya Muslims in the country.

UN leaders, foreign government officials, and human rights watchers have for months cited evidence of genocide in Myanmar, and the United States late a year ago said that "ethnic cleansing" was occurring in Myanmar.

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The mission, which was created by the UN Human Rights Council in March 2017, concluded in its report that "there is sufficient information to warrant the investigation and prosecution of senior officials in the Tatmadaw (Myanmar army) chain of command". "Its standard response is to deny, dismiss and obstruct", the United Nations report said.

The accounts were followed by a total of nearly 12 million people, Facebook said, adding that data had been preserved.

One of those commanders, Lt. Gen. Aung Kyaw Zaw, has already been singled out for US sanctions as punishment for the attacks on Rohingya.

The panel, set up past year, interviewed 875 victims and witnesses in Bangladesh and other countries, and analyzed documents, videos, photographs and satellite images.

The report said the situation was a "catastrophe looming for decades", and an inevitable result of "severe, systemic and institutionalised oppression from birth to death".

The fact-finders dismissed the government and security forces' claims that the operation was a legitimate response to attacks by Rohingya insurgents on police outposts on August 25.

The company said after the court announcement that it was disappointed.

Facebook was a key outlet in which hate speech was propagated against the Rohingya Muslims, the mission said.

Facebook also said it removed dozens of accounts for engaging in a campaign that "used seemingly independent news and opinion pages to covertly push the messages of the Myanmar military". "While we were too slow to act, we're now making progress - with better technology to identify hate speech, improved reporting tools, and more people to review content".

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