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

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The worldwide community must now redouble efforts to urge Myanmar's authorities, and in particular its military leadership, to immediately stop the violence and discrimination against Rohingya and other minorities, and allow unfettered access to the UN Fact-Finding Mission, humanitarian aid and independent human rights monitors.

The U.N. human rights chief says actions by Myanmar's government to "dehumanize" the Rohingya minority are likely to fan more violence and draw in communities from across the region.

According to The Daily Star, Hussein asked the UN Human Rights Council, "Given all of this, can anyone rule out that elements of genocide may be present?"

In the sprawling camps of southern Bangladesh, now home to over 800,000 Rohingya, many say they would prefer to remain there, because they do not trust Myanmar's assurances of safe return.

The Human Rights Council voted 33-3 with nine abstentions on a resolution aiming to re-center the world's attention on the crisis that has left an untold number of people killed and injured and driven an estimated 626,000 Rohingya to flee into neighboring Bangladesh since August. He also is calling for an global investigation to bring to justice the perpetrators of these crimes.

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He also urged providing the Rohingya Muslims with humanitarian and relief assistance and reconstructing areas destroyed by state authorities in Myanmar.

A top Myanmar diplomat has rejected allegations by the United Nations human rights chief that the country's government has taken action to "dehumanize" Rohingya Muslims.

"But it needs to ensure that its rhetoric is matched by its will to prevent further mistreatment, forced returns, and assaults to the human rights and dignity of the Rohingya", she said.

"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.

"The U.N. resolution makes clear that the global community retains a watchful eye over the plight of the Rohingya and demands action", said Laila Matar, senior U.N. advocate at Human Rights Watch, in a printed statement.

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It also asked Zeid's office to track progress in the country and to provide regular updates to the council and submit a full report by March 2019.

Yet, he added, prosecutions for alleged acts of violence against them, including sexual violence - whether committed by security forces or civilians - appeared to be extremely rare.

But Myanmar has refused to cooperate and has blocked access to the team of investigators, who have begun their work outside the country.

Marzuki Darusman, head of the independent worldwide fact-finding mission, said by video from Malaysia: "We will go where the evidence leads us". Refugees arriving in Bangladesh said their homes were set on fire by soldiers and Buddhist mobs, and some reported being shot at by security forces. "We maintain hope that it will be granted early in 2018".

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