Asia Pacific

U.N. committee strongly condemns Myanmar's persecution of Rohingya; Japan abstains from vote

Kyodo

A United Nations committee on Friday endorsed a resolution turning up the heat on Myanmar over the persecution of its Rohingya Muslim minority.

The measure, pushed by the European Union and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to the U.N. General Assembly’s Third Committee charged with human rights, won backing from 142 nations. In addition to Myanmar, China and Russia, seven other countries voted against it and 26 nations — including Japan — abstained.

Myanmar’s representative voiced objections to the resolution, defending the country’s handling of the Rohingya crisis including the setting up of an independent panel to investigate allegations of human rights violations against the Rohingya people.

The motion acknowledges “with grave concern” remarks made by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and other officials who have labeled the persecution “ethnic cleansing” and “strongly condemns” all violations and abuses of human rights in Myanmar.

It also calls on the Myanmar authorities to ensure that those responsible for the rights violations and abuses are held accountable and removed from positions of power.

According to the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, more than 720,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled from Rakhine state to neighboring Bangladesh since the latest round of violence erupted in August last year.

They fled to escape a harsh crackdown launched by Myanmar security forces in reprisal for attacks by an armed Rohingya faction against security posts.

The resolution will now be put to a vote in a plenary session of the General Assembly where it is expected to be adopted in December.