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Myanmar to investigate alleged police crimes against Rohingya Muslims

[JURIST] Myanmar [BBC backgrounder] officials stated on Monday that they would investigate [Reuters report] whether police have committed crimes against Rohingya Muslims. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] found [press release] in a recent report [report, PDF] that Myanmar security forces had committed mass killings and gang rapes [JURIST report] of Rohingya Muslims. The police have allegedly been burning down villages and abusing the minority group in a campaign the UN says could potentially amount to ethnic cleansing. Up until this point Myanmar has denied all allegations, stating that a lawful counterinsurgency campaign as been under way since nine policemen were killed in attacks on security posts in October. The Home Ministry came out with a statement saying that an inquiry [RFA report] would be conducted "to find out whether the police forces have committed illegal actions including violations of human rights during their area clearance operations."

The situation in Myanmar has continued to be one closely monitored by advocacy groups and world organizations. Earlier this week Human Rights Watch endorsed [JURIST report] an investigation into the abuses against the Rohingya population, specifically sexual abuses against women. Last month a prominent Muslim lawyer in the country was shot and killed [JURIST report] outside an airport in Myanmar, which brought condemnation from an UN expert about the human rights situation in the country. The continued abuses against this vulnerable population led the UN to send an envoy to the country last month to assess the human rights [JURIST report] situation.

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