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Yanghee Lee: High-level UN probe needed for Rohingya

Myanmar “may be trying to expel” all ethnic Rohingya from its territory, a UN rights expert says, pushing for a high-level inquiry into abuses against the Muslim minority community.

Yanghee Lee, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, told the UN rights council in Geneva on Monday evidence indicated a full purge could be the ultimate goal of the institutional persecution being perpetrated against the Rohingya.

“Conducting a household survey – where those absent may be struck off the list that could be the only legal proof of their status in Myanmar – indicates the government may be trying to expel the Rohingya population from the country altogether,” she said.

The army launched a bloody crackdown against the Rohingya in October in the northern Rakhine state following attacks by rebels on several border posts.

UN investigators say during the military operation women were gang-raped by soldiers and Rohingya babies were slaughtered.

Lee wants the rights council to establish the UN’s highest-level probe, a Commission of Inquiry, to investigate the crackdown, as well as violent episodes in 2012 and 2014.

Myanmar’s UN envoy in Geneva Htin Lynn said at the council on Monday the allegations were unverified and one-sided. He said security operations in Rakhine had stopped and the curfew was eased earlier this month.

“The situation in Rakhine state is very complicated in nature and thus requires complicated answers. It also requires greater understanding by the international community,” he said.

“Myanmar does not accept the idea of a commission of Inquiry, as we are seriously addressing the allegations nationally.”

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