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Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi vows to investigate crimes against Rohingya Muslims
Reuters - February 4, 2017
A UN investigation published on Friday found that security forces and police had committed mass killings and gang rapes and burned villages in northern Rakhine State.
"I did speak to Aung San Suu Kyi about an hour and a half ago. I called upon her to use every means available to exert pressure on the military and the security services to end this operation," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein said.
"She informed me that an investigation will be launched. She said that they would require further information."
In Yangon, presidential spokesman Zaw Htay said: "These are extremely serious allegations, and we are deeply concerned. We will be immediately investigating these allegations through the investigation commission led by Vice-President U Myint Swe.
"Where there is clear evidence of abuses and violations, we will take all necessary action."
Witnesses testify to 'horrors' of Rakhine State
Myanmar, a mostly Buddhist country, has previously denied almost all allegations of human rights abuses against Muslims in northern Rakhine and said a lawful counterinsurgency campaign was underway.
Since it began on October 9, about 69,000 Rohingya have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh – the UN report was based on accounts gathered in January from 220 of them.
Witnesses testified to "the killing of babies, toddlers, children, women and elderly; opening fire at people fleeing; burning of entire villages; massive detention; massive and systematic rape and sexual violence; deliberate destruction of food and sources of food".
One woman described her baby's throat being slit, while another was raped by soldiers and saw her five-year-old daughter killed.
The report said the actions by security forces probably amounted to crimes against humanity. Mr Zeid said the perpetrators of such "horrors" must be held to account.
Possible avenues would be the establishment of an international commission of inquiry or the involvement of the International Criminal Court.