Myanmar's Rohingya report 'absurd', rights group says


The media trip to Rakhine comes amid mounting global pressure on Myanmar over its handling of the crisis, with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson set to visit the capital on Wednesday.

The crackdown led to the mass exodus of about 600,000 Muslim Rohingya civilians who fled the predominantly Buddhist country into neighbouring Bangladesh.

On Monday, British Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman stated that the crisis in Myanmar "looks like ethnic cleansing".

"I think that Myanmar might promise to work with the global community, and it is likely that the worldwide community will also work with Myanmar on resolving this problem", he said.

"People expected that this subject would be discussed during the summit", he said. "They killed Hindus and other ethnic minorities".

In a recent report, United Nations investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

Tillerson and Aung San Suu Kyi, the head of a less than two-year-old civilian administration that has no control over the military, met in Manila on Monday, where they were both attending a regional summit.

"She has said what she will do, and ASEAN must make comments on Myanmar only after waiting and seeing what she does", he said.

"The agency is also concerned about forced and early marriages taking place among the Rohingya refugee population".

"The Burmese military's absurd effort to absolve itself of mass atrocities underscores why an independent worldwide investigation is needed to establish the facts and identify those responsible", said Brad Adams, Asia director at HRW.

The U.N.'s migration agency on Tuesday warned of the trafficking, exploitation and sexual abuse of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

Some U.S. senators are now pursuing legislation to impose economic and travel sanctions on the armed forces and their business interests.

The military said that its report was based on interviews with 3,217 Rohingya villagers, whose citizenship has not been recognized in the country and were referred to in the report as "Bengalis".

Stressing the importance of holding to account those responsible for human rights abuses and violations, the Security Council statement called for the Government of Myanmar to co-operate with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Myanmar says it has trucked in workers from other parts of the state to harvest 70,000 acres of abandoned rice paddies. "Failure to make strong statements connected to strong actions will do just that", he said. It denied that security forces had torched Rohingya villages or used "excessive force".

In a related development, Bangladeshi authorities on Tuesday handed over four Rohingya "terrorists" to Myanmar, said Police Colonel Aung Htay Myint of the Myanmar Police Force's Transnational Crime Department.

Mohammad Shobaik, 12, a Rohingya refugee boy who said he was shot by the military during an attack on his village in Myanmar, shows his wound at Kutupalong refugee camp near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh November 14, 2017.

"After that, Myanmar will accept refugees back by forming joint committees", he said. "We heard [this] from people... over and over again". Translated by Khet Mar.

Reported by Khin Khin Ei, and Win Ko Ko Latt for RFA's Myanmar Service. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.