Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - UN report slams Myanmar army



UN report slams Myanmar army

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Rohingya refugees fleeing from Myanmar arrive at the Naf River in Whaikyang, on the Bangladesh border in 2017. fred dufour/aFP

UN report slams Myanmar army

Myanmar’s powerful army should be removed from politics, UN investigators said Tuesday in the final version of a damning report reiterating calls for top generals to be prosecuted for genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority.

The UN’s 444-page probe is the most meticulous breakdown of the violence to date. It says the military’s top leadership should be overhauled and have no further influence over the country’s governance.

Myanmar’s military dominates the Buddhist-majority nation, holding a quarter of seats in parliament and controlling three ministries, making their grip on power firm despite political reforms which began in 2011.

But the report said the country’s civilian leadership “should further pursue the removal of the Tatmadaw from Myanmar’s political life”, referring to the nation’s armed forces.

The UN’s analysis, based on 18 months’ work and more than 850 in-depth interviews, urges the international community to investigate the military top brass for genocide, including commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing.

Myanmar’s army has denied nearly all wrongdoing, insisting its campaign was justified to root out Rohingya insurgents who staged deadly raids on border posts in August 2017.

But the UN team said the military’s tactics had been “consistently and grossly disproportionate to actual security threats”.

The report says an estimated 10,000 people were killed in the crackdown and that was likely a conservative figure.

Investigators said the Tatmadaw should be restructured and the process should begin by replacing the current leadership.

Three key ministries – home affairs, border and defence – are also in their hands, giving them carte blanche to conduct security operations with little oversight.

“It is impossible to remove the army out of political life without changing the constitution, and the military have a veto over constitutional changes,” Mark Farmaner, from Burma Campaign UK, told the media.

The UN team said there were reasonable grounds to believe that the atrocities – including systematic murder, rape, torture and arson – were committed with the intention of destroying the stateless Rohingya, warranting the charges of genocide.

The mission, created by the UN Human Rights Council in March 2017, did not focus its sights entirely on the army.

It directed specific criticism at Suu Kyi, whose global reputation has been shattered by her failure to speak up for the Rohingya against the military.

While acknowledging that the civilian authorities have little influence over military actions, the report said that their “acts and omissions” had “contributed to the commission of atrocity crimes”.

Pointing to “deeply entrenched” impunity in Myanmar, the investigators said the only chance to obtain accountability was through the international justice system.

They also pointed to failings of the UN’s office within Myanmar, alleging that “quiet diplomacy” was prioritised and that those who tried to push the UN’s Human Rights Up Front approach were “ignored, criticised, sidelined or blocked in these efforts”.

The independent UN team was set to present its findings to member states of the Human Rights Council in Geneva later on Tuesday, after which Myanmar will have a chance to respond to the allegations.

It also repeated suggestions that crimes against the Rohingya be referred to the International Criminal Court, which concluded in August that it had jurisdiction to investigate even though Myanmar is not a member of the treaty underpinning the tribunal.

Myanmar has dismissed the tribunal’s authority and analysts have pointed to the court’s lack of enforcement powers.

The investigators also recommended an arms embargo and “targeted individual sanctions against those who appear to be most responsible”.

MOST VIEWED

  • WHO: Covid in Cambodia goes into new phase

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia said that Cambodia has reached a new phase of the pandemic with “decreasing case numbers, high vaccination coverage and a more transmissible circulating variant threatening a hidden surge”. In a press release on September 6, the WHO said that

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • International air visitor arrivals dip 93%

    The number of foreign tourists entering Cambodia through the Kingdom’s three international airports witnessed a sharp 92.5 per cent year-on-year decline in the first seven months of this year, according to the Ministry of Tourism. The airports handled 51,729 international tourists in the January-July period versus

  • School reopening ‘offers model for other sectors’

    World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said school reopening process should be used as a role model for reopening other sectors currently mothballed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Li strongly supports the government’s decision to reopen schools, saying it is a decision

  • Covid jab drive for 6-11 age group to begin Sept 17

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has permitted Covid-19 vaccinations for over 1.8 million children aged 6-11 across the country from September 17 in order for them to return to school after a long hiatus. Hun Sen also hinted that vaccinations for the 3-6 age group will follow in