Responding to the failed attempt by China, Philippines and Burundi to vote down a UN Human Rights Council resolution on the situation of the Rohingya and other minorities in Myanmar, Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia Director at Amnesty International, said:
“The adoption of today’s resolution demonstrates the broad international concern about the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people so brutally impacted by the ongoing crimes against humanity in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. By voting against it, China and others showed how woefully out of step they are with world opinion on the crisis.
“China has the diplomatic, humanitarian and economic resources to make a real difference in the lives of the Rohingya. But its current maneuvering simply seeks to intervene only to preserve impunity for horrific crimes.
China has the diplomatic, humanitarian and economic resources to make a real difference in the lives of the Rohingya. But its current maneuvering simply seeks to intervene only to preserve impunity for horrific crimes.
“Thankfully, the resolution passed despite its detractors, and states across all regions of the world engaged positively on it. The international community must now redouble efforts to urge Myanmar’s authorities, and in particular its military leadership, to immediately stop the violence and discrimination against Rohingya and other minorities, and allow unfettered access to the UN Fact-Finding Mission, humanitarian aid and independent human rights monitors.
“This is crucial to lay the groundwork for accountability for atrocities against Rohingya women, men and children, as well as to ensure the voluntary, safe and dignified return of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees.”
In today’s resolution, the UN Human Rights Council condemned the systematic and gross violations of human rights in Myanmar, in particular against the Rohingya in Rakhine State. In addition to the three votes against, nine states abstained from today’s vote and 33 voted in favour.
More than 620,000 people have fled into Bangladesh in a matter of months as security forces unleashed a targeted campaign of violence against the Rohingya: killing an unknown number of women, men and children; raping women and girls; laying landmines; and burning entire Rohingya villages.
Rohingya people who remain in the country are trapped in a dehumanizing state-sponsored system of apartheid, where virtually every aspect of their lives is severely restricted. Dismantling this system of apartheid is essential to ensure the safe, voluntary and dignified return of the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who have fled Myanmar.
Amnesty International has also documented how Myanmar’s security forces are committing wide-ranging violations against other ethnic minorities, in particular in Kachin and northern Shan States. These include extrajudicial executions and other unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, torture and forced labour.