The US Ambassador says his country supports accountability for human rights abuses committed by the Myanmar military against Rohingya Muslims and other minority groups in conflicts with ethnic armies, speaking in an interview with Radio Free Asia (RFA) this week.
“We support justice and accountability not only in Myanmar, but everywhere around the world,” US Ambassador Scot Marciel told RFA’s Myanmar Service on Thursday. “And there has not been accountability and justice here for those human rights abuses.”
The US government has repeatedly expressed concern over the Rakhine crisis and the other conflicts in Myanmar, primarily in Kachin and Shan states, that have resulted in many casualties and a flood of people displaced by fighting.
Over 700,000 Rohingya Muslims were forced to flee Rakhine State to Bangladesh in 2017 following a military operation that the Myanmar government says was aimed at flushing out ARSA terrorists who attacked Myanmar border guard posts.
The Rakhine crisis, as it has been dubbed, appears to have complicated relations between Western countries and Myanmar and seen neighbouring China increase its influence.
A military-led crackdown targeting the Rohingya in northern Rakhine state that began in 2017 left thousands dead and forced more than 740,000 others to flee to safety in Bangladesh. Armed conflict in other far-flung regions of the country meanwhile have left scores of civilians dead and driven tens of thousands from homes and into displacement camps.
Myanmar has largely denied responsibility for the campaign of violence in northern Rakhine that included indiscriminate killings, mass rape, torture, and village burnings, and defended the actions of its military as a necessary counterinsurgency against Rohingya militants who attacked police outpost in northern Rakhine state.
An investigation by an independent fact-finding mission (FFM) appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council found signs of genocidal intent in the military campaign and the international body has pushed for top army brass to be prosecuted at the international Criminal Court for their roles in the atrocities, well-documented by the FFM and human rights groups. The FFM also urged the international community to cut off financial aid to Myanmar’s military.
In addition, the FFM declared that hundreds of thousands of Rohingya still inside Myanmar continue to face systematic persecution and live under the threat of genocide.
“We support justice and accountability not only in Myanmar, but everywhere around the world,” U.S. Ambassador Scot Marciel told RFA’s Myanmar Service in an exclusive interview at the U.S. Embassy in Yangon. “And there has not been accountability and justice here for those human rights abuses.”