Myanmar’s government could be seeking to expel Rohingya, a U.N. representative reported on March 13. Special rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar Yanghee Lee has pushed for an enquiry into abuses against the Rohingya minority by the Myanmar army.
“Conducting a household survey—where those absent may be struck off the list that could be the only legal proof of their status in Myanmar—indicates the government may be trying to expel the Rohingya population from the country altogether," Lee said.
A U.N. report published earlier this year found that Rohingya Muslims, who live in Myanmar’s Northern Rakhine state, were being slaughtered and raped by the army, and that actions by the police and army may amount to crimes against humanity.
The military launched a crackdown in the north of Rakhine State after nine policemen were killed, and it’s estimated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights ( OHCHR) that nearly 66,000 Rohingya have become refugees in Bangladesh after the state instigated a retaliatory attack on the ethnic minority since October 2016.
The U.N. reported that more than 1,000 Rohingya could have been killed during crackdowns in late 2016 and early 2017. Lee said she had heard “harrowing account after harrowing account.
“I heard allegation after allegation of horrific events like these—slitting of throats, indiscriminate shootings, setting alight houses with people tied up inside and throwing very young children into the fire, as well as gang rapes and other sexual violence," she told the Council.
There has been no intervention by the E.U. or other international bodies because of “concern that a damning U.N investigation might threaten the country’s fragile democracy drive,” Al Jazeera reported. Lee recognised a full international probe could have a “destabilising effect.”
Dutch-American sociologist Saskia Sassen undertook research that found persecution against the Rohingya could be to protect business interests, rather than solely religion. She questions whether the land grabs by the government are for corporate interests using religion as a cover, especially as land was recently leased in Rakhine state for corporate development and business use. Sassen argues that once small holders are evicted, land grabs can take place.Try Newsweek: Subscription offers