An eight-month-pregnant woman gang-raped by soldiers after they decapitated her son in front of her

Sergio Conner
December 7, 2017

The rights chief then asked: "Considering Rohingyas' self-identify as a distinct ethnic group with their own language and culture - and [that they] are also deemed by the perpetrators themselves as belonging to a different ethnic, national, racial or religious group - given all of this, can anyone rule out that elements of genocide may be present?" Such a designation is rare under worldwide law, but has been used in contexts including Bosnia, Sudan and an Islamic State campaign against the Yazidi communities in Iraq and Syria.

While not mentioning the Rohingya directly, Ambassador Htin Lynn says any "dehumanization" of people in Myanmar "could be an act of extremist individuals".

Following a special session of the UN Human Rights Council, the nations overwhelmingly voted in favour of a resolution expressing grave concern over widespread abuses committed against the largely Muslim minority.

The comments are among the first by United Nations officials about a possible genocide perpetrated against the Rohingya, a Muslim minority in Myanmar, more than 600,000 of whom have fled into neighboring Bangladesh since a bloody security crackdown began in August.

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According to Reuters, Shahriar Alam, Bangladesh's junior foreign affairs minister, told the session in Geneva that his country was hosting almost one million "Myanmar nationals" following summary executions and rapes "as a weapon of persecution". This called for reconciliation, which could come about only when discrimination against the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar ended.

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".

He cited a long list of atrocities that Rohingya who have fled to Bangladesh say they have suffered, describing them as "acts of appalling barbarity".

One was gang-raped by soldiers after they decapitated her son in front of her. Myanmar's military vehemently denies accusations by the UN and the United States that it has committed ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya.

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