ISTANBUL (AA) — Amnesty International’s newly-appointed Secretary General Kumi Naidoo has said the UN’s last report adds to the mountain of evidence of Myanmar’s genocide against Rohingya Muslims.
Kumi Naidoo is a veteran South African activist; he was expelled from school at the age of 15 when he protested against the then apartheid regime in South Africa. He later went to Britain until Nelson Mandela gained his freedom. He is on his first visit to Turkey after getting appointed as Amnesty International’s secretary general.
“As Amnesty International, we are happy with the release of an independent United Nations investigation into human rights abuses carried out against Rohingya Muslims. This report confirms the names of the generals from the Myanmar military that Amnesty International announced in earlier reports,” Naidoo told Anadolu Agency.
“We have recommended concrete steps to hold them and others accountable, and to sustain a safe environment for the Rohingya Muslims to return, including for the UN Security Council to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court and the establishment of an international mechanism to collect and preserve evidence for use in future criminal proceedings,” he said.
“It is not just conflict. It is deliberate and calculated attempt of Myanmar military. This is tantamount to genocide and ethnic cleansing. Therefore, we have documented extensively the military’s ethnic cleansing campaign including murder, rape, torture, forced starvation and forced deportation as well as other serious human rights violations against the Rohingya.” he said.
About the UN’s call for genocide charges against Myanmar military, Naidoo said: “In legal language they say: ‘Justice delayed is justice denied.’ This is taken far too long. There has been some dragging feet of Myanmar government to find an absolute solution. Additionally, some powerful governments which are supposedly promote human rights said nothing. They’ve almost colluded with the human right violations through their silence. Therefore, five years is a long time to wait for absolute for the final rehabilitation.”
In a report, the UNHCR refugee agency said nearly 170,000 Rohingya likely fled Myanmar in 2012 alone.
Since August 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).
In a recent report, Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience, the OIDA raised the estimated number of murdered Rohingya to 23,962 (± 881) from a Doctors Without Borders figure of 9,400.
More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, the OIDA report said, adding that 17,718 (±780) Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police. Over 115,000 Rohingya houses were also burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.
According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly children and women, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community.
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings — including of infants and young children — brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.