GENEVA — The top human rights official for the United Nations condemned the Myanmar government’s handling of violence in Muslim areas bordering Bangladesh on Friday, saying it risked creating a breeding ground for violent extremism.
Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, described the government’s approach to the crisis as “shortsighted, counterproductive and even callous.” He warned that the fallout from the surge in violence was spilling into the region.
His comments were the sharpest response yet from the United Nations to reports of brutal reprisals by the army against the Rohingya, a Muslim group in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, after insurgents attacked border posts in October, killing nine police officers.
Moreover, it reflects deepening frustration and impatience at the way Myanmar’s de facto leader, the democracy activist Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, has brushed off mounting evidence of military atrocities and allowed international agencies insufficient access to the area either to assess what has occurred or to provide aid to the affected population.
The United Nations refugee agency estimates that 30,000 Rohingya Muslims have been forced from their homes as troops have swept through parts of Rakhine, reportedly burning and looting villages, summarily shooting local residents and raping women.
More than 21,900 Rohingyas have fled across the border to Bangladesh, United Nations officials say, bringing horrific accounts of villagers fleeing the violence shot dead, young children tossed into burning houses and mass rapes of Rohingya women by troops.
Government officials have denied the reports as fabrications and said militants were responsible for burning houses. Mr. al-Hussein said such denials — coupled with the refusal to allow independent monitors into northern Rakhine State — represented an abdication of the country’s international legal obligations.
Source by: http://www.nytimes.com/