March 22, 2023

U.N. official says Myanmar leader ‘Avoided’ discussion of Rohingya rape during meeting

H.E. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor of the Republic of Union Myanmar, calling on the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan on 18-10-16

From WN

Myanmar state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi avoided discussing reportsof Rohingya women and girls being raped by her country’s troops and police when she met a senior United Nations official, according to an internal memo seen by The Guardian.

Pramila Patten, the special envoy on sexual violence in conflict, traveled to the country for a four-day visit in mid-December to raise the crisis with government officials.

But in a letter to U.N. secretary-general Antonio Guterres last week, she said Aung San Suu Kyi, a state counselor in the Myanmar government, refused to engage in “any substantive discussion” of reports that soldiers, border guard police and Rakhine Buddhist militias carried out “widespread and systematic” sexual violence in northern Rakhine state.

“The meeting with the state counselor was a cordial courtesy call of approximately 45 minutes that was, unfortunately, not substantive in nature.” – Pramila Patten

More than 655,000 Rohingya, members of a persecuted and stateless Muslim minority, have fled to Bangladeshi refugee camps since violence began in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state in August. Medecins Sans Frontieres believes at least 6,700 Rohingya were killed during “clearance operations” ostensibly targeting militants, while many survivors say women and girls were gang-raped.

Instead of discussing the claims directly, Patten said, Aung San Suu Kyi informed her she would enjoy “a number of good meetings” with senior Myanmar officials.

During these meetings, she was told by representatives of the military and civilian government that reports of atrocities were “exaggerated and fabricated by the international community.”

“Moreover, a belief was expressed that those who fled did so due to an affiliation with terrorist groups, and did so to evade law enforcement,” she wrote.

Myanmar’s army has cleared itself of any wrongdoing in an internal investigation dubbed a “whitewash” by human rights groups., Jim Berrie

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