No ethnic cleansing in Northern Rakhine

Myanmar at UN: Term ‘genocide’ must not be used without solid evidence

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Ethnic Rakhine begin the journey back to their villages yesterday from Sittway after violence in northern Rakhine subsided. Photo: MNA
Ambassador U Hau Do Suan, Permanent Representative of Myanmar to UN speaks at the UN General Assembly in New York. Photo: MNA

Myanmar objected in the strongest terms to the use of words and terms such as “atrocities”, “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide” by several UN delegations in reference to the situation in Myanmar.
Myanmar diplomats and government officials said it is dangerous and irresponsible to use such damning words without solid evidence.
Ambassador U Hau Do Suan, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to the United Nations, expressed his concerns in exercising the right of reply against those allegations during the final session of the general debate at the UN General Assembly in New York on Monday.
“It is deeply regrettable that unsubstantiated allegations have been repeated in those chambers likening the situation in Rakhine State to ‘ethnic cleansing”, he said.
He said that terms such as “atrocities”, “ethnic cleansing”, and “genocide” must not be used lightly, and the use of such terms should be considered only after there is solid evidence.
He urged those delegations and the international community to view the situation in northern Rakhine objectively and in an unbiased manner. He stated that there was no ethnic cleansing and there was no genocide in nothern Rakhine.
Nigeria, France, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Maldives, Chad and Bangladesh accused Myanmar of committing “atrocities” and “ethnic cleansing” during the general debate of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly held at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
Myanmar says its forces are fighting terrorists responsible for attacking the police and the army, killing civilians and torching villages.
The International Criminal Court defines crimes against humanity as acts including murder, torture, rape and deportation “when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack”.
Government spokesman U Zaw Htay said no Myanmar government had ever been as committed to the promotion of rights as the current one.
“Accusations without any strong evidence are dangerous,” he told Reuters. “It makes it difficult for the government to handle things.”
Ambassador U Hau Do Suan urged all concerned to consider the facts. He pointed out that, within hours of the release of the report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, a series of coordinated attacks were carried out on 30 police outposts in Northern Rakhine State on 25 August. The so-called Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) had claimed responsibility for the attacks. Subsequently, ARSA was declared as a terrorist group. Those vicious attacks had resulted in the loss of life and property and displacement of peoples. Those who had to abandon their hearth and home were many – not just Muslim and Rakhine, but also small minority groups such as Daingnet, Mro, Thet, Mramagyi and Hindus. Most of the world had been unaware of the existence and plight of those small groups.
The ambassador also said that in the affected area of northern Rakhine, the Muslim community was not a minority, as was widely reported. In reality, they were a majority whose population had grown. They constitute 95 per cent of the total population in the area. The Government is now striving to restore normalcy. At present, humanitarian assistance is the top priority. The Government is committed to ensuring that aid will be received by all those in need, without discrimination, he said.
He reiterated that refugees who had fled to Bangladesh would be repatriated to Myanmar based on the experience of 1993, and that a working group for verification would be set up expeditiously to conduct a systematic verification process.
The ambassador’s remarks came one day after authorities discovered 45 bodies of Hindu villagers allegedly killed by ARSA extremist terrorists in northern Rakhine.
The discovery was made after following up on information given by Hindu villagers who managed to escape from the massacre in northern Rakhine and fled to Sittway and Bangladesh.
“The bodies were found with their throats slit while they were blindfolded and their hands were tied. Some bodies had cuts to their hands and feet,” said Dr. Kyaw Maung Maung Thein, Maungtaw People’s Hospital Superintendent, who conducted the autopsies yesterday.
“The evidences pointed to a massacre by ARSA terrorists,” he said. Hindu villagers from Khamaungseik Village told journalists who visited the conflict areas last week that Muslim terrorists stormed into their communities on 25 August, killing many, looting their properties, and abducting men, women and children and fleeing into the forest.
Following the discovery of the dead bodies, Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Dr Win Myat Aye flew to the site by helicopter and consoled the families of the victims, pledging that the remains of Hindu villagers would be given a proper Hindu traditional burial.— GNLM

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