Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged the United Nations Security Council to issue a resolution to refer Myanmar to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the Rohingya crisis, days ahead of a visit by a UN delegation to the Asian country.
According to Press TV, Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of the HRW, warned on Friday that Myanmar should be referred to the ICC or else no one will be held accountable.
“The lack of a UN Security Council resolution has left the Myanmar government convinced that it has literally gotten away with mass murder,” Roth told reporters in Myanmar’s city of Yangon on Friday. He also called for targeted sanctions on perpetrators and an arms embargo.
Myanmar has come under intense pressure since the military launched yet another heavy-handed crackdown against the Muslim minority in Rakhine State on August 25, 2017, using a number of armed attacks on military posts as the pretext.
About 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled the predominantly-Buddhist Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh since August last year, bringing with them horrifying stories of massacres, gang rape and arson by Myanmar’s military forces and Buddhist mobs.
The UN delegation will speak to refugees in Bangladesh before they head to Myanmar early next week to visit Rohingya-majority Rakhine.
They will also meet Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has come under global scrutiny for backing an ethnic cleansing campaign against the country’s Muslim population.
Myanmar has denied widespread accounts of violence against the persecuted Rohingya Muslim community in Rakhine.
It took months for Myanmar to agree to the delegation’s visit after the UN leveled accusations of ethnic cleansing in Rakhine.
The visiting delegation is led by Britain, Peru and Kuwait, whose Ambassador Mansour al-Otaibi has stressed the trip is not about “naming and shaming” Myanmar, but rather to show the country that the “international community is following the situation and has great interest in resolving it.”
The UN Security Council strongly condemned government-sanctioned violence against Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya minority in a unanimously-backed statement released in November last year. The UNSC, however, failed to adopt an enforceable resolution due to opposition by Myanmar’s ally China.