Human rights groups demand action over “ongoing genocide” in Myanmar


Human rights groups on Thursday called on the United Nations to establish an independent investigatory body to look into what it describes as “ongoing genocide” in Myanmar.

The persecution of members of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar is tantamount to genocide, Yale’s International Human Rights Law Clinic and human rights group Fortify Rights said at a joint press conference in Bangkok.

“The treatment of the Rohingya in Myanmar’s Rakhine state fits the definition of genocide under the Genocide Convention of 1948,” Katherine Munyan of the Yale group said.

Under the convention, genocide is the destruction in whole or in part of an ethnic group.

Genocidal actions against the Rohingya include the restriction of movement, the refusal of child-bearing rights and forced evictions, according to Munyan and her colleagues.

“We’re calling for the establishment of an investigatory body to be set up under the United Nations to look into these findings,” said Matthew Smith, director of Fortify Rights.

The establishment of such a body would force the Myanmar government to improve the situation in Rakhine, Smith said.

The Rohingya are a minority Muslim group in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar. The central government does not consider them a native ethnic group but illegal Bengali immigrants, stripping them of their citizenship and property.

The group made global headlines earlier this year when thousands of Rohingya migrants were stranded on boats operated by human smugglers after trying to escape to Muslim-majority Malaysia and Indonesia.