Burma Campaign UK today called upon the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to officially support the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry into the situation in Rakhine State, Burma, when it holds an emergency meeting on the Rohingya this Thursday 19th January.
The OIC should then work to ensure that the establishment of such an Inquiry is included in the next resolution on Burma at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Twelve OIC members are currently on the Human Rights Council, making up almost a quarter of UNHRC members.
Since attacks on police border posts in Rakhine State on 9th October, the military and security forces have retaliated with a violent crackdown in areas where ethnic Rohingya live. There are credible reports of hundreds of Rohingya being killed, dozens of rapes of Rohingya women, mass arrests, beatings, burning of villages, and forced relocation by the military and security forces. All of these human rights abuses could meet the criteria of violations of international law. The response of the government and military has been to deny such abuses are happening.
To date, no credible investigation has taken place into the violent attacks in 2012, which left around 140,000 Rohingya and other Muslims displaced from their homes, and in which more than 100 women were raped, and an unknown number killed.
Only a genuinely independent UN inquiry will help establish the truth.
A UN Commission of Inquiry could assess the totality of the human rights situation in Rakhine State, including human rights violations against Muslims and Buddhists, identify perpetrators and instigators of violence and hatred, assess laws and government policies which discriminate against the Rohingya, and provide detailed recommendations to improve the situation.
In the short term, the establishment of a UN inquiry could help curtail some of the human rights violations taking place as the government and military will know that a credible independent investigation is taking place and those responsible for human rights violations will be identified.
“The OIC should be applauded for holding this emergency meeting on the Rohingya crisis, but they must follow through with practical action,” said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “A UN Commission of Inquiry is an essential step towards establishing the facts, reducing human rights violations, and identifying long-term solutions. We cannot carry on the cycle of crisis after crisis and an ever worsening situation for the Rohingya.”