A Myanmar government spokesperson rebuffed a scathing U.N. report released this week that accused the country’s military of acting with “genocidal intent” against the Rohingya minority, claiming Wednesday that the U.N. had made “false allegations.”
The report, released Monday by a U.N. Fact-Finding Mission, issued the sternest condemnation yet of Myanmar’s brutal campaign against the Rohingya, which has driven over 700,000 refugees into neighboring Bangladesh in the past year. The investigators concluded that Myanmar’s military, known as the Tatmadaw, committed atrocities that “undoubtedly amount to the gravest crimes under international law” and called for top commanders to be prosecuted at the International Criminal Court (ICC) or at an alternative tribunal.
On Wednesday, Myanmar spokesperson Zaw Htay disputed those accusations, claiming that the country observes a “zero tolerance for human rights violations.”
“Our stance is clear and I want to say sharply that we don’t accept any resolutions conducted by the Human Rights Council,” he said, as quoted in Myanmar state media. He added that a Commission of Enquiry has been set up to respond to “false allegations made by the U.N. agencies and other international communities.”
Myanmar has repeatedly denied visas to the three-member U.N. Fact-Finding Mission since it was established in March, 2017. Instead, the government commissioned a series of internal probes that have exonerated the military or otherwise disintegrated. On Tuesday, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the Fact-Finding Mission’s findings “deserve serious consideration,” while Sweden and the Netherlands called on the Security Council to refer Myanmar to the ICC.
Also on Tuesday, Facebook, which the U.N. report called “a useful instrument for those seeking to spread hate,” deleted dozens of Myanmar accounts, including those of army chief Min Aung Hlaing and military news network Myawady. “We want to prevent them from using our service to further inflame ethnic and religious tensions,” Facebook said in a statement.
According to Zaw Htay, Myanmar was not notified prior to the Facebook delisting. “We have many questions to be raised regarding the removal of these Facebook accounts and pages,” he said, including “how can we retrieve these accounts?”