UN envoy urges impartial probe into Myanmar Rohingya ‘killings’

The United Nation's rights envoy to Myanmar has raised "serious concerns" over the impartiality of a government investigation into allegations of deadly attacks on Rohingya Muslims in the country's Rakhine state.
Tomas Ojea Quintana, the UN special rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar, has warned that tensions in Rakhine, could "jeopardise the whole (Myanmar political) transition process".
While authorities said a police officer was presumed dead after a clash in January, they have strongly denied civilians were killed in relation to the incident.
The government has, however, ordered an inquiry into the incident by a committee that is currently in Rakhine state.
"We need to respect that investigation. At the same time I have serious concerns about the possibility for this investigation… to be impartial and independent," Mr Quintana said
He added that a history of impunity in Myanmar meant "there has never been an independent investigation of any incident".
Mr Quintana, who was concluding his final mission after a six-year mandate, said the probe was due to present its findings on February 28, but that he would urge the UN to aid another inquiry if it did not meet international standards.
"The international community, the United Nations, have a responsibility also in respect to these incidents, which according to the allegations were quite serious," he said.
Mr Quintana said he had met the chief of Rakhine state's police, who admitted that more than 100 officers, armed with live ammunition, had taken part in a search at the village for a missing policeman presumed to have been killed by local people.
He said the authorities denied any deaths or injuries during the operation on January 13 and 14.
The area where the latest violence is believed to have taken place is mainly populated by the stateless Rohingya Muslims, whose movements are strictly controlled by a heavy security presence.
Myanmar's government considers the estimated 800,000 Rohingya in the country to be foreigners while many citizens see them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
Two rounds of unrest in Rakhine state in June and October 2012, largely between local Buddhists and the Rohingya Muslim minority, sparked religious unrest across the country, leaving about 250 people dead.
SOURCE www.radioaustralia.net.au