Genocide against Rohingya can not be ruled out, says United Nations rights chief

Sabber in conversation with a human rights activist in Kolkata

Fleeing terror, Rohingya find much hardship, a little hope, and some help from Pinoys

Ms. Patten told the human rights panel Tuesday that she had heard "the most heartbreaking and horrific accounts of sexual atrocities reportedly committed in cold blood out of a lethal hatred of these people exclusively on the basis of their ethnicity and religion".

Addressing a UN Human Rights Council session, Youssef urged the world countries to provide protection for the Rohingya people and help them return to their homes in Myanmar.

The Myanmar authorities have made few concessions to global criticism of their military actions against the Rohingya, which appear to be broadly popular with the country's majority-Buddhist population.

He also expounded efforts exerted by Al Azhar in support of the Rohingya people in the past period.

He described horrific violence and abuse, including allegations of "killing by random firing of bullets, use of grenades, shooting at close range, stabbings, beatings to death and the burning of houses with families inside".

Amnesty International has also documented how Myanmar's security forces are committing wide-ranging violations against other ethnic minorities, in particular in Kachin and northern Shan States.

"Given all of this, can anyone - can anyone - rule out that elements of genocide may be present?"

The United Nations Human Rights Council strongly condemned Myanmar at a special session on Tuesday for the "very likely commission of crimes against humanity" by state security forces assisted by non-state actors in the country's troubled Rakhine state.

Additional investigations by Pramila Patten, the United Nations special representative dealing with sexual violence in conflict, are focusing on reports of widespread sexual assaults by the Myanmar military.

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Myanmar's ambassador Htin Lynn said his government "disassociated" itself from the text and denounced what he called "politicization and partiality".

Al Hussein said his office has visited and interviewed Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh three times this year.

"This is crucial to lay the groundwork for accountability for atrocities against Rohingya women, men and children, as well as to ensure the voluntary, safe and dignified return of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees".

She warned that rampant sexual attacks on Rohingya appeared to be "used as a tool of dehumanization and collective punishment", citing witness accounts of women and girls tied to rocks or trees "before multiple soldiers literally raped them to death".

The Supreme Court on Tuesday posted all petitions relating to deportation of Muslim Rohingya refugees for detailed hearing on January 31.

Myanmar denies that Rohingyas are its citizens and considers them foreigners.

"Refusal by worldwide as well as local actors to even name the Rohingyas as Rohingyas - to recognise them as a community and respect their right to self-identification - is yet another humiliation, and it creates a shameful paradox: they are denied a name, while being targeted for being who they are", he added.

He was speaking at a special council session Tuesday on the Rohingya's plight.

But Myanmar has refused to cooperate and has blocked access to the team of investigators, who have begun their work outside the country. "We maintain hope that it will be granted early in 2018".

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