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UN humanitarian committee calls for action on situation in Myanmar

[JURIST] The Third Committee [official website] of the UN General Assembly passed a resolution [text] on Thursday calling on authorities in Myanmar to address a number of human rights concerns related to the treatment of the country's Rohningya population. The committee, which focuses on social, humanitarian, and social issues, voted 135-10-26 [roll call] to adopt a wide-ranging text urging the government in Myanmar to end on-going military operations, ensure the safe and voluntary return of all internally displaced persons, grant "full, unrestricted and unmonitored access for the fact-finding mission of the Human Rights Council," and undertake "full, transparent and independent investigations" of human rights violations.

The report expressed alarm and concern over the army's disproportionate use of force in response to a Rohingya rebel militia's attack against army outposts in August 2017. This violence, including the use of rape, arson, and extrajudicial killings has resulted in more than 300,000 refugees fleeing into Bangladesh and another 120,000 to camps for internally displaced persons. The resolution calls on the government of Myanmar to call and end to the violence, allow Rohingya to return to their homes from both Bangladesh and the internal camps, and to respect human rights by allowing Rohingya to become citizens and contribute to Burmese society.

The Third Committee's resolution comes after similar calls and condemnation from the UN Security Council, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Amnesty International and Myanmar State Counselor and Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi [JURIST report]. Suu Kyi, however, has been sharply criticized for not specifically recognizing the Rohingya and for refusing to allow UN investigators to look into the situation.

The resolution will now go before the full General Assembly for approval.

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