Rohingya crisis

Poses risk to regional security, warns UN rights chief

The UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights says that the situation in Myanmar could escalate into a larger, religious-based conflict

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February 6, 2018
Poses risk to regional security, warns UN rights chief
An armed policeman stands guard near the Bangladesh-Myanmar border Photo: Lynn Bo Bo/EPA

The Rohingya crisis in Myanmar could have wider consequences for the security of the region, the UN human rights chief warned in a speech yesterday in Indonesia.

“It is sometimes said that today’s human rights violations will become tomorrow’s conflicts. If the Rohingya crisis were to spark a broader conflict based on religious identities, the ensuing disputes could be a cause for great alarm,” Radio Free Asia reported Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein as saying.

Zeid’s comments came after a report last week revealed that five mass graves had been discovered in the village of Gu Dar Pyin in Myanmar’s Rakhine province, the AP reported.  
Human rights groups say that Myanmar has not done enough to restore security in Rakhine State despite international calls for action.

The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic minority in Myanmar who mainly live in northern Rakhine province. Nearly 88% of the country’s population is Buddhist.

Myanmar’s government has denied responsibility for the violence and has admitted to the existence of only one, separate mass grave, which they claim contained the bodies of ten terrorists.

Since an outbreak of violence in August 2017, more than 655,000 Rohingya refugees have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh. The two countries have agreed on terms to start a repatriation process, but it has been hindered by delays and logistical constraints.

As recently as last week more than 800 Rohingya crossed the border into Bangladesh, as victims of violence continue to flee on a daily basis, Radio Free Asia reported.

The UN rights chief was speaking at a press conference to mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the AFP reported.

During his three-day visit to Indonesia, he will meet President Joko Widodo, as well as top government officials and human rights groups.

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