MYANMAR: Victims of crime against humanity deserve justice

An Oral Statement to the 37th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council by the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)

Madam Vice President.

The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) finds the report and oral updates presented by the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar and the Chairperson of the Independent International Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar as true reflections of the ground realities.

The ALRC, and its partner – Odhikar, has been conducting fact-finding missions on the situation of Rohingyas. Since October 2016 we have interviewed over 200 Rohingya refugees, who are forced to flee to Bangladesh to save their lives. The victims are mostly women. They provided graphic descriptions about what they had faced in the Rakhine state.

Among the survivors Mrs. Dildar Begum – a 30 year-old mother, told us that 19 members of her family were killed before her eyes. On 29 August 2017, Tatmadaw and local Buddhist extremists attacked their house in Tulatuli village of Maungdaw township. The soldiers surrounded the villagers; separated the young women and girls; killed the men, women and children; and buried the bodies in six trenches at Tulatuli swamp. Each trench was approximately 50-60 feet long, 5 to 6 feet wide and 4 to 5 feet deep. The soldiers took the survivors including Mrs. Dildar Begum, her four children and other young women to a house in the same village where she saw many bodies of women and children. The floor of the house had pool of blood. The Tatmadaw soldiers gang-raped her. They hit her children with rifle butts and smashed their heads. Three of her children died there. The soldiers hit her in the head too. Having setting fire to the house the soldiers left. Dildar and her 10-year daughter only managed to survive and escape to flee to Bangladesh.

Many victims of Net Choung village of Maungdaw and Show Prang village of Buthidaung townships shared similar horrific experiences with our human rights defenders.

These accounts by the victims suggest that genocide continues in the Rakhine State. By preventing access to the crime scene Myanmar cannot simply blame the UN independent experts. The international community, particularly the UN should have access to the country to obtain evidence before they are destroyed. The ALRC looks forward to the conclusion of the Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar about the alleged commission of genocide and urges the Council to end the crime against humanity and justice afforded to the victims.

Thank you, Madam Vice President.

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