UN says still determining if Myanmar crisis is genocide

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations has yet to determine whether violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar meets the legal definition of genocide, Jyoti Sanghera, Asia Pacific chief at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said on Wednesday.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein has called the situation “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”, but he has not used the word genocide.

“We are yet looking at the legal boundaries of that,” Sanghera said. “It could meet the boundaries, but we haven’t yet made that legal determination at OHCHR.”

A UN team took witness statements from Rohingya refugees last month, and another human rights mission is currently on the ground, gathering evidence from some of the 582,000 Rohingya who have fled into Bangladesh in the last two months.

“The testimony gathered by the team referred to unspeakable horrors,” Sanghera told an audience at Geneva’s Graduate Institute. “Even as I speak this evening the world is witnessing a horrific spectacle of massive forced displacement and suffering.”

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