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Burma says it will not let outside world investigate Rohingya ‘genocide’ claims

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Burma will refuse entry to members of the UN trying to investigate the alleged killing, violence and abuse against the Rohingya people, an official said.

The government of Aung San Suu Kyi has already said it would refuse to cooperate with a UN mission following a resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council in March.

Kyaw Zeya, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said: “If they are going to send someone with regards to the fact-finding mission, then there’s no reason for us to let them come.”

Mr Zeya added that visas to enter Burma would not be issued to any staff working on the mission.

The Burmese government has repeatedly denied claims that the Rohingya Muslim ethnic group is facing genocide in the country’s remote Rakhine State. It previously brushed away evidence of human rights violations as fake news and “propaganda”.

It also deemed “exaggerated” a UN report published in February which found babies and children were reportedly slaughtered with knives amid “area clearance operations”.

Ms Suu Kyi, who came to power last year as apart of a transition from military rule, has been criticised for failing to stand up to the more than one million stateless Rohingya Muslims.

People in Burma, which is a Buddhist-majority country, have long seen the Rohingyas as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Some 75,000 Rohingyas fled the northwestern state of Rakhine to Bangladesh last year following security operations carried out by the Burmese army.

In March, the EU called for a mission to look into the allegations of abuse in the north of the country.

Indira Jaising, an advocate from the Supreme Court of India, was appointed to lead the mission in May.

But Burma insists that a domestic investigation, which is headed by former lieutenant general and Vice President Myint Swe, is sufficient to look into the allegations in Rakhine.

“Why do they try to use unwarranted pressure when the domestic mechanisms have not been exhausted?” said Kyaw Zeya.

“It will not contribute to our efforts to solve the issues in a holistic manner,” he said.

Last month, Ms Suu Kyi clashed with the EU over the necessity to carry through the UN resolution and send an international fact-finding mission to Burma.

Speaking in Brussels, Ms Suu Kyi said distrust between the two communities went as far back as the 18th century and that what the country needed was time.

“We have not ignored allegations of rape or murder or anything. We have asked that these are placed before a court and trialled,” she said.

She added her government was disassociating itself from the UN resolution “because we don’t think the resolution is in keeping with what is actually happening on the ground.”

During a trip to Sweden earlier this month she said the UN resolution “would have created greater hostility between the different communities.”

The Independent

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