Human rights abuses against the Rohingya in Myanmar may amount to crimes against humanity, according to a report [text, DOC] released Monday by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website]. The report documents [Al Jazeera report] abuses against minorities that include “arbitrary deprivation of nationality, severe restriction on freedom of movement, threats to life and security, denial of rights to health and education, forced labour, sexual violence, and limitations to … political rights, among other violations”. The report states [press release] that the Rohingya and Kaman Muslims continue to live in camps for internally displaced people after approximately four years since violence began in the Rakhine State. Muslims in the Rakhine State are severely restricted from accessing basic healthcare, emergency medical treatment and education. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein urged [UN News Centre report] the government of Myanmar to take “concrete steps to put an end to the systemic discrimination and ongoing human rights violations against minorities”.
Human rights has been on the forefront of Myanmar’s new democratic government since ending a decades-old military rule. Last week a UN expert presented [JURIST report] a report on religious, free market, political, and nationalist or cultural fundamentalism, stating that fundamentalist intolerance is growing throughout the globe and is directly contributing to infringements of the rights to association and peaceful assembly. Early this month, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed [JURIST report] shock at the increasing number of children recruited and killed in armed conflicts in several countries; the government of Myanmar alone released [JURIST report] 46 underage child recruits from the military in March as part of a UN join action plan made in 2012. In May Human Rights Watch urged [JURIST report] the Myanmar Parliament to reconsider a proposed law that they say has the advocacy organization says has the potential to limit free expression and peaceful assembly. Also in May US Secretary of State John Kerry offered support to Myanmar’s newly democratic government and urged [JURIST report] the country to push more democratic reform and address human rights issues.