Govt ‘Deeply Concerned’ by UN Report of Arakan State Human Rights Abuses

By Rik Glauert 9 February 2017

RANGOON — Burma’s government is “deeply concerned” by allegations of widespread human rights abuses committed by security forces in northern Arakan State outlined in a UN report released last week, according to a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Foreign Minister and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi told the UN High Commissioner’s for Human Rights Prince Zeid Ra’an Hussein in a telephone call last week that “where there is clear evidence of abuses or violations, the Government will take necessary measures,” the Wednesday statement read.

The UN report issued last week based on interviews accused government security forces in northern Arakan State of committing mass killings and gang rapes of Rohingya Muslims and burning their villages in a “calculated policy of terror” that “very likely” amounted to crimes against humanity and possibly ethnic cleansing.

The government statement said that “security forces have been instructed to react within the parameters of rule of law in compliance with human rights refraining from use of excessive force,” and that the promotion and protection of human rights have been high on the new government’s agenda.

It points to the government’s investigation committee led by Vice President U Myint Swe which has delayed the publication of its report to thoroughly investigate allegations of human rights abuses.

A number of international experts had visited the area including the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan-led Arakan State Advisory commission and the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Burma Yanghee Lee, the statement said.

The government was taking a “comprehensive approach” on Arakan State and has “adopted short and long term programmes to promote understanding and trust,” according to the statement.

It came as UN officials in Bangladesh said more than 1,000 Rohingya Muslims may have been killed in the Burma Army crackdown, suggesting the death toll has been far greater than previously reported.