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US House urges Myanmar sanctions over Rohingya campaign

07 December 2017

The Human Rights Council voted 33-3 with nine abstentions on a resolution aiming to re-center the world's attention on the crisis that has left an untold number of people killed and injured and driven an estimated 626,000 Rohingya to flee into neighboring Bangladesh since August.

The United Nations' High Commissioner for Human Rights says the mounting evidence of military-perpetrated atrocities against Rohingya Muslims could constitute global criminal law's most serious charge.

Zeid said actions by Myanmar's government to "dehumanize" the Rohingya minority were likely to fan more violence and affect more communities across the region.

Myanmar's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Mr Htin Lynn, slammed the resolution, decrying it as "unethical and unprofessional" and as "infringing on the state sovereignty of Myanmar".

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He said Myanmar authorities had refused to give his office access to Rakhine, and that he had instead sent three teams to Bangladesh to monitor the situation and interview refugees.

Marzuki Darusman, head of an independent worldwide fact-finding mission on Myanmar, said by video from Malaysia: "We will go where the evidence leads us".

The US House of Representatives has passed a resolution condemning "ethnic cleansing" of Rohingyas and urging immediate restoration of humanitarian access to the Rakhine state, where unrest has forced over 600,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh.

According to Reuters, Myanmar denies committing atrocities against the Rohingya.

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Earlier, U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein cited problems like segregation, killing by random firing of bullets, burning of houses with families inside, and rape targeting the Rohingya.

Addressing the Human Rights Council on Tuesday, Zeid said United Nations investigators have received "concordant reports of acts of appalling barbarity committed against the Rohingya" during a military crackdown in Rakhine state in August.

"Can anyone - can anyone - rule out that elements of genocide may be present?" he told the 47-member state forum.

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US House urges Myanmar sanctions over Rohingya campaign