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    Myanmar authorities must do more to curb abuses against the Rohingya – UN expert

    A Rohingya woman
    and her child at a makeshift camp outside Sittwe in Myanmar’s western Rakhine
    State. Photo: IRIN

    11 June 2013 

    The
    fatal shooting of three Rohingya women is the latest example of law enforcement
    officials operating with complete impunity in western Myanmar, an independent
    United Nations expert today said, calling on Government authorities to
    investigate the incident.

    “The human rights
    violations being committed against the Rohingya in Rakhine State are widespread
    and systematic and there continues to be absolutely no accountability for what
    is occurring there,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights
    situation in Myanmar, Tomás Ojea Quintana.

    Calling for
    authorities to investigate all reported violations of human rights against the
    minority group, he added that there is no way of “glossing over this state of
    affairs” with the genuine progress that is being made in other areas.

    The police
    reportedly fired indiscriminately on 4 June into a crowd of Rohingyas
    protesting peacefully against the proposed location of new shelters in Pa Rein
    village. Their homes had been destroyed last year during inter-communal
    violence. In addition to the three women killed, at least five other people
    were reportedly injured.

    Mr. Ojea Quintana
    said Government authorities have “an obligation to conduct prompt, thorough and
    impartial investigations” into such accidents and hold those responsible to
    account.

    Since the violence
    in Rakhine State erupted last June, “I have seen absolutely no evidence that
    the Government is fulfilling this obligation,” he added.

    In his report to
    the Human Rights Council in March, the Special Rapporteur said he had received
    consistent and credible allegations of a wide range of human rights violations
    being committed against the Rohingya and wider Muslim population in Rakhine
    State. These include “sweeps” against Muslim villages, arbitrary detentions,
    sexual assault and torture.

    Restating the offer
    he made in the report, Mr. Ojea Quintana said that if the Rakhine Investigation
    Commission fails to properly address such allegations of human rights
    violations, he will offer his support to the Government to pursue further
    investigations.

    “I reiterate my
    offer of support to the Government to address the impunity which is enabling
    widespread and systematic human rights violations to continue against the most
    vulnerable of all ethnic minority groups in Myanmar,” he noted.

    The President of
    the Human Rights Council, Remigiusz Henczel, is expected this week to make a
    statement on Myanmar.

    Independent
    experts, or special rapporteurs, are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human
    Rights Council to examine and report back, in an unpaid capacity, on specific
    human rights themes.