At a dramatic meeting of the United Nations Security Council on October 24, the anniversary of the founding of the UN in 1945, the chair of a special independent investigative commission on Myanmar government’s security forces against the country’s Rohingya Muslims.
Marzuki Darusman, the chairperson of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar (FFM) that the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva set up last year, briefed council members on the “human rights catastrophe” faced by the Rohingya from military “clearance operations” in northern Rakhine State beginning in August 2017. He detailed his mission’sof murder, mass rape, enforced disappearance, arson, looting, torture, and “large-scale massacres including of women, children, and elderly,” among other brutalities. The mass abuses have forced over 700,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh over the past year.
Darusman told the Security Council that many of the military’s atrocities amounted to “genocidal acts” and that “genocidal intent can be reasonably inferred” from senior military leaders’ statements and from the details and context of the campaign. After the clearance operations, the Fact-Finding Mission noted, the government consummated the “ethnic cleansing” by completely destroying Rohingya villages and building new structures for non-Rohingya populations. The mission separately found that abuses were part of “a systematic attack on a civilian population” amounting to crimes against humanity, and that some of the abuses amounted to acts of “extermination.”