Australia to back UN Investigations into Myanmar Rohingya Atrocities by Burmese Government

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The Turnbull government has refused to back an international investigation into atrocities against Rohingya Minority in Myanmar. This is despite a motion passed in the Senate urging Australia to call for a United Nations commission of Inquiry.  Pope Francis recently issued a strong condemnation of Myanmar over its repression of the Rohingya minority group, just days after a United Nations report concluded that security forces had slaughtered and raped hundreds of men, women and children in a “campaign of terror.” 14 of Aung San Suu Kyi's fellow Noble Peace Price Laureates & nine other distinguished internationalists issued  an open letter on Jan 17, to the UN Security Council saying that, “a human tragedy amounting to ethnic cleansing … is unfolding in Myanmar”

Despite the chorus of international condemnation & well-documented atrocities against the Rohingya, Turnbull government appears to be adopting a " Head in Sand Approach ".  Australia's statement at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, merely called for Myanmar to conduct its own investigation into what the UN says, could amount to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity in the country's western Rakhine State, home to more than one million Muslims.

Human rights groups condemned what they called Australia's weak position at the council, describing already established investigations into the violence in Myanmar as a whitewash. Australia's statement in Geneva was "hopelessly weak" and "sweeps under the carpet", the country's crimes against humanity.  This is despite on  February 17, Australian senators passed a Greens motion without division calling on Myanmar to assert the religious and ethnic equality of all of its people, including Rohingya and urging the Australian government to consider pushing for a UN commission of inquiry into abuses in the Buddhist-majority country

Yanghee Lee, the United Nations special envoy for Myanmar, called for a UN inquiry, the strongest form of intervention the council could take, citing evidence that Myanmar may be seeking to "expel" all ethnic Rohingya from the country where they have been living for generations. "I heard allegation after allegation of horrific events like these – slitting throats, indiscriminate shootings, setting alight houses with people tied up inside and throwing very young people into the fire, as well as gang rapes and other sexual violence," Ms. Lee told the 47-member council

The UN Human Rights Council is expected to vote in late March on the human rights situation in Myanmar, which is also called Burma. Australia should use its international influence to push for an immediate end to the crisis and for a UN commission of inquiry.  

Turnbull government's inaction on the matter risks Australia being labeled, complicit in crimes against humanity.  Please vote on the matter to send a strong message that this is not what Australia stands for.

 

 



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