Rohingya extremists should be held accountable for massacre of Hindus: UN human rights expert

The UN human rights expert on Myanmar has said that the extremist Rohingya organisation that has been involved in the massacre of Hindus in Myanmar should be apprehended and held accountable.

Asked at a news conference on Wednesday, about the attacks on Hindus by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) that has been documented by Amnesty International, the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, said, "We need to make certain that there's a full execution of the of the law when it comes to apprehending these individuals."
"There are radical groups that we know of that are in many, many communities, including the Rohingya community," he said, "we know that they have been responsible for some heinous crimes and I call them out."
"It's my view, regardless of who you are, in any of these issues or conflicts you have a fundamental responsibility to respect human rights, including organisations such as ARSA," he said.
An Amnesty International investigation found that "up to 99 Hindu women, men, and children" had been massacred by ARSA fighters, who also abducted Hindu villagers in August 2017 in Myanmar's Rakhine State.
"Our latest investigation on the ground sheds much-needed light on the largely under-reported human rights abuses by ARSA during northern Rakhine State's unspeakably dark recent history," said Amnesty International Crisis Response Director Tirana Hassan.
ARSA is led by Karachi-born Ata Ullah abu Ammar Jununi.
Andrews, a former member of the US Congress and longtime democracy activist, also criticised India for offering to cooperate with the Myanmar military regime in conducting elections, which he said could not be free and fair when opposition leaders are jailed, tortured and executed, and it is illegal to criticise the government.
He called election plans under these circumstances "outrageous" and added, "Now countries are beginning to aid and abet this scheme by adding some credence to it."
He asserted, "The foreign minister of India travelled to Myanmar, and said that India is the largest democracy in the world (and) awe would be happy to provide advice and assistance to the elections."
However, Jaishankar has not visited Myanmar as external affairs minister and the last high-level visit was by Harsh Vardhan Shringla in last December when he was the foreign secretary and elections do not appear to have figured in the trip.
According to a Myanmar media report, it was India's Ambassador to Myanmar, Vinay Kumar, who had met U. Thein Soe, the Chairman of the Union Election Commission, in April and said that New Delhi would continue its cooperation with the organisation.
U. Thein said, "Myanmar and India had been cooperating in electoral processes since the past and India provided its support to Myanmar, which also studied the democratic system and laws of India in implementing its democratic system", according to Yangon-based Eleven Media.
Andrews said that he had spoken to "Indian government officials about this issue and I'm hoping that they will consider my points".
"And I'm going to be making those very points to any and every country who might think that they could be doing a good thing to try and help an election, which will, which certainly will be anything but."
"There's no way this could ever be conceived of as an election and as the largest democracy in the world. I'm hoping that that point can be made by India, engaging as they are right now," he added.
India has helped several countries for holding elections drawing on its expertise in conducting polls in difficult and varied circumstances.
Andrews, who outlined the numerous human rights violations by the Myanmar military regime, called for unified action by countries to impose sanctions against it.
He cited the example of the coordinated action against Ukraine and said that the Myanmar military regime should face similar concerted action to make the military junta restore democracy.
(Arul Louis can be contacted at arul.l@ians.in and followed at @arulouis)20221027-031404

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