UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The results of a US State Department inquiry into the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar are in line with those of a UN investigator report calling for Myanmar's commander-in-chief and other generals to investigate genocide US Ambassador to the United Nations on Tuesday.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley listens to actor Cate Blanchett speaking at a United Nations Security Council meeting on Myanmar at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on 28 August 201
At the UN Security Council, Nikki Haley said: "The world can no longer avoid the difficult truth." She did not use the term "genocide", and the State Department said it was not yet completed, said the statement "genocidal intent" that the UN report from Monday had attached to the attacks on Rohingya Muslims.
However, Haley said that of the more than 1,000 randomly selected Rohingya Muslims interviewed in the State Department's own report, "a full fifth" witnessed more than 100 victims who were killed or injured. She said 82 percent had seen a murder, more than half had experienced sexual violence and 45 percent were witnessing a rape.
"The report identifies a group as the perpetrator of the overwhelming majority of these crimes: the Burmese military and security forces," Haley said, referring to the US report.
She said the Security Council must hold those responsible responsible for the violence to account and added, "The whole world is watching what we do next and whether we will act."
Haley's comments provided the first details of the State Department's report compiled from 1,024 interviews in refugee camps in Bangladesh and completed in late April.
It remained unclear when US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo planned to publish the full US report, which would have legal implications for Washington to impose tougher sanctions on Myanmar, especially if Washington came to the conclusion that there is genocide.
The results were originally due to be announced ahead of the U.N. report on Monday, but were held up by internal considerations.
U.S. US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the "genocidal intent" was "a very specific legal term."
"It's not easy to do," she told a regular press conference on Tuesday.
Critics have accused Washington of being too cautious about the Rohingya crisis, but a US official speaking on the condition of anonymity said on Monday that UN results could increase pressure for tougher US measures ,
The publication of the U.S. report on Monday was the first explicit call by US authorities in Myanmar for allegations of genocide for their campaign against the Rohingya. He said the military carried out mass killings and mass rape with "genocidal intent", and the commander-in-chief and five generals should be prosecuted.
Washington, which had previously imposed sanctions on only one regional general because of the crisis, this month raised four more military and police commanders and two army units, but Colonel-General Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief, again spared.
U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said at the UN meeting that the United Nations report needed to be seriously considered and that accountability for genuine reconciliation between ethnic groups in Myanmar was essential.
Even without using the term genocide, Guterres said that the report by independent UN experts found "patterns of gross human rights abuses and abuses" by the security forces, which undoubtedly are among the most serious crimes of international law.
He said international cooperation was "crucial" in ensuring accountability.
Myanmar's ambassador to the United Nations, Hau Do Suan reiterated his government's claim that the Burmese military had given a "logical response" to militant militant attacks by Muslims Anyone responsible for human rights violations would be taken action if there was sufficient evidence.
Guterres said the UN Security Council must continue to press for the release of journalists arrested for reporting the Rohingya crisis Reference to two Reuters reporters in Myanmar.
Haley said the United Sta It was expected that the two, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, would be acquitted of all charges. Also on Tuesday, US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who defended Washington as the voice of democratic change, could not be held responsible for atrocities because they lack the necessary resources have to stop the military actions.
Haley did not mention Suu Kyi. The US investigators said they have failed to use their "moral authority" to protect civilians.
China, which has been competing with Washington for influence in Myanmar, said Tuesday that "one-sided criticism or pressure" would not help solve the Rohingya problem.
Around 700,000 Rohingya have fled the crackdown in Myanmar and most are living in refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh.
Guterres said an international humanitarian appeal for refugees was clearly underfunded at 33 percent and more needs to be done to mitigate the threat to life posed by the current and upcoming monsoon.
He said that there are still no clear conditions for the safe return of Rohingya and called on members of the Security Council to co-operate with Myanmar to ensure cooperation with US authorities and partners.
"There can be no excuse for delaying the search for worthy solutions that enable people to return to their areas of origin in safety and dignity, in line with international standards and human rights," Guterres said.
Reporting by Rodrigo Campos Additional coverage by David Brunnstrom, Lesley Wroughton, Lisa Lambert and Richard Cowan in Washington and Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Writing by David Brunnstrom Editing by Tim Ahmann, Toni Reinhold