UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – A report by UN investigators that Myanmar's mass murder and mass rape of Muslim Rohingya was committed with "genocidal intent" and that the country's top commander and five generals should be prosecuted deserves serious attention the UN Secretary-General on Tuesday.
FILE PHOTO: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres makes a statement after giving a speech on disarmament and denuclearization in Geneva, Switzerland, on 24 May 201
Antonio Guterres said the day after the report's release at a UN Security Council meeting that accountability for genuine reconciliation between all ethnic groups was essential.
Without using the word genocide, Guterres said the report of independent experts had found "patterns of gross human rights abuses and abuses" by the security forces, "undoubtedly among the most serious crimes under international law."
"I believe that the findings and recommendations of this report are being seriously considered by all relevant United Nations bodies," Guterres said.
He said that international cooperation was "crucial to ensuring that accountability mechanisms are credible, transparent, impartial and independent and that they meet Myanmar's obligations under international law."
Guterres said the UN Security Council must continue to press for human rights to free journalists arrested for reporting the Rohingya crisis, a reference to two Reuters reporters in Myanmar.
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 the crisis is still significantly 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 it was clear that there were no conditions for the safe return of Rohingya refugees to their place of origin or place of election, and called on members of the Security Council to work with Myanmar to gain access to cooperation UN organizations 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.
A US State Department spokesman preparing a separate report on the anti-Rohingya campaign said Monday that the UN's findings had contributed to growing evidence of "widespread human rights abuses" by the Burmese armed forces. However, the US would only decide whether
genocide or crimes against humanity "were committed after a
thorough review of available facts and relevant legal
analysis," the spokesman said.
Critics have accused Washington of being too cautious about the Rohingya crisis, but a US official speaking on the condition of anonymity said the U.N. findings could increase pressure for tougher US measures.
Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Letter from David Brunnstrom; Edited by Tim Ahmann, Toni Reinhold