Burma: Suu Kyi bars Rohingya investigation

Burma's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has rejected a decision by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate allegations of crimes by security forces against the country's minority Rohingya Muslims. The UN body agreed in March to dispatch a fact-finding mission to Burma over claims of systematic murder, rape and torture in Rakhine state. "We do not agree with it," Suu Kyi told a press conference during a visit to Brussels May 2. "We have disassociated ourselves from the resolution because we do not think that the resolution is in keeping with what is actually happening on the ground." (The Telegraph, May 3; NYT, March 24) 

More than 168,000 Rohingya have fled Burma over the last five years as a result of violence, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The newly released 2016 Report on Mixed Movements in South-East Asia documents the abuses behind the continuing exodus from Rakhine state. The report also warns that of some 74,000 Rohingya living in camps and makeshift sites in Bangladesh, many are at risk of "re-victimization,"  in need of adequate shelter before the rainy season starts. "Without proper support, they also face risks such as child labour, gender-based violence and trafficking," said Shinji Kubo, UNHCR representative in Bangladesh, in a news release. (UN News Centre, May 4; UNHCR, May 3)

Aung San Suu Kyi, widely hailed for restoring democracy to Burma, has been challenged before for her failure to address the crisis faced by the Rohingya people.

  1. Burma exculpates itself of war crimes

    An inquiry conducted by the Burmese government has found no crimes against humanity were committed during violent clashes in Rakhine state last year, Vice President Myint Swe said Aug. 6. Speaking to reporters at the release of the Rakhine Investigative Commission's final report, Swe denied allegations of ethnic cleansing and gang rapes. He did concede that some crimes may have occurred, but attributed them to individual members of security forces. The government's commission has faced criticism from rights groups for a lack of transparency, and its credibility has been called into question. (Jurist)