It’s been nearly a year since Myanmar’s military began targeting Rohingya Muslims, carrying out a massive, extremely violent “ethnic cleansing,” which left thousands dead and nearly 700,000 people fleeing the Rakhine province of Myanmar. But a new report from the UN alleges that Myanmar’s military is guilty of genocide against the Rohingya people, and that the military is responsible for crimes against humanity.
The Guardian writes that the report found evidence that the actions of the Tatmadaw, the armed forces of Myanmar, “undoubtedly amounted to the gravest crimes under international law” in states Rakhine, Kachin and Shan. While UN investigators were denied access to Myanmar, they interviewed 875 witnesses who had fled the country, all of whom described military assaulting children, burning entire villages, gang-raping women, torture, enslavement and other acts of crimes against humanity, as well as deportation and mass extermination.
“The crimes in Rakhine state, and the manner in which they were perpetrated, are similar in nature, gravity and scope to those that have allowed genocidal intent to be established in other contexts,” the UN report reads. The UN is also calling for Myanmar to be investigated by ICC, the International Criminal Court, and also names six senior military leaders who should go on trial, including Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
In response to allegations of genocide, Myanmar’s military has long denied any “ethnic cleansing” of civilians, claiming they’re targeting illegal immigrants and Rohingya militants.