Iranian jurists urge UN action on Rohingya Muslim crisis

Tasnim– A number of Iranian jurists and lawyers called on the United Nations secretary general to push for an end to the ongoing military crackdown and ethnic violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

In a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, 70 Iranian jurists asked him to take practical action to address the plight of Myanmar Muslims and do something beyond an expression of concern.

Citing Article 99 of the Charter of the United Nations, the Iranian lawyers urged Guterres to show “practical and genuine” support for the persecuted Muslim people in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

The UN Charter’s Article 99 stipulates that “the Secretary-General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.”

The letter also makes a reference to the UN human rights office’s report on the dire situation in Myanmar, saying the report, according to which clearance operations by Myanmar government forces against Rohingya Muslims involve killings, torture and rape, necessitate serious action by the UN.

According to the International Criminal Court (ICC) Statute, the crimes being committed against Myanmar Muslims amount to crimes against humanity, the letter added, calling on the UN chief to use the power bestowed on him to push for a halt to those crimes.

According to the UN human rights office, Myanmar security forces have driven out half a million Muslim Rohingya from northern Rakhine state, torching their homes, crops and villages to prevent them from returning.

The UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein – who has described the government operations as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing” – said in a statement that the actions appeared to be “a cynical ploy to forcibly transfer large numbers of people without possibility of return”.

The Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar have long faced severe discrimination and were the targets of violence in 2012 that killed hundreds and drove about 140,000 people from their homes to camps for the internally displaced.

More than half a million Muslims have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh since August.