A United Nations (UN) women’s rights panel has called on Myanmar’s authorities to provide a report within six months on abuses against Rohingya Muslim women and girls in the Southeast Asian country.
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) set the six-month deadline for Myanmar to submit the report to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
The UN watchdog panel requested “information concerning cases of sexual violence, including rape, against Rohingya women and girls by state security forces, and to provide details on the number of women and girls who have been killed or have died due to other non-natural causes during the latest outbreak of violence.”
The panel, composed of 23 independent experts, said it also wanted to know how many Rohingya women and girls were being held by security forces.
It also requested information on “investigations, arrests, prosecutions, convictions and sentences or disciplinary measures imposed on perpetrators, including members of the armed forces, found guilty of such crimes.”
A panel member, Nahla Haidar, said on Tuesday that the “exceptional report is also like a red flag” that is aimed to help Myanmar authorities “get out of the tunnel of this recent conflict.”
Myanmar’s military launched a brutal crackdown on the Muslim community late last year. Joined by Buddhist mobs, soldiers have been raping, killing, and torturing the minority Muslims. Since intensifying in August, the crackdown has forced more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to neighboring Bangladesh, where they also face an inhospitable environment.
The Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh live in squalid and cramped camps, which are surrounded by garbage and dirty water, in a border town named Cox’s Bazaar. Citing the refugees, Reuters reported that they faced disease epidemic due to the unhygienic conditions.
“A lot of people get sick here because of the prevailing atmosphere at the camps where there is no space for fresh air, no clean water supply,” said an elderly Rohingya man. “Added to all this is the lack of food and so much of dirt and filth present all around. All these things lead to disease and death.”
Another camp resident explained that “a lot of refugees got sick during the journey from Myanmar and died after reaching Bangladesh.”
“Some carried their wounds and injuries from the violence out there and succumbed to those injuries here,” he added.
According to the report, the victims of the camps’ dire condition are mostly children.
Pope Francis, who has been on a visit to Myanmar since Monday, is expected to arrive in Bangladesh for a three-day visit.
source: press tv