Geneva: The UN Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar has sought unhindered access to verify reports of human rights abuses against the Rohingya Muslim minority.
“It is important for us to see with our own eyes the sites of these alleged violations and abuses and to speak directly with the affected people and with the authorities. For that reason, we communicated with the government of Myanmar, requesting cooperation and full and unfettered access to the country,” said the mission’s Chairperson, Marzuki Darusman.
“We are hopeful that our request will be met positively, since we know of the government’s expressed concern for truth,” he said.
He called for “full and free access for humanitarian relief” for the 415,000 Rohingyas who have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state to Bangladesh in less than a month and for those that still remain in the country.
The fact-finding mission was established in March by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR) resolution 34/22 which poses deep concern at the “serious further deterioration of the security, human rights and humanitarian situation in Rakhine state”.
The mission has dispatched a team to Bangladesh to collect information and verify reports of human rights abuses by the Myanmar Army from the Rohingyas who have entered the country.
The latest wave of violence broke out on August 25 after Rohingya rebels attacked police checkposts in Rakhine killing 12 security personnel.
Darusman referred to acts of “mass killings, excessive use of force, torture and ill-treatment, sexual and gender-based violence, and the burning and destruction of entire villages” as well as reports of landmines planted along the border with Bangladesh.
He called for the UNHCR to extend the commission’s mandate by six months until September 2018.