UN says Rohingya crisis could endanger regional security

The U.N.'s human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, center, answers reporters' questions after attending a conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. al-Hussein warned that Myanmar's persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority has the potential to spark regional conflict. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
The U.N.'s human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, center, walks with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, lower left, former foreign minister Hassan Wirajuda, left, and Deputy Foreign Minister A.M. Fachir after a group photo at the beginning of a conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. al-Hussein warned that Myanmar's persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority has the potential to spark regional conflict. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
The U.N.'s human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, second left, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, second right, former foreign minister Hassan Wirajuda, left, and Deputy Foreign Minister A.M. Fachir, right, pose for photographers during a group photo at the beginning of a conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. al-Hussein warned that Myanmar's persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority has the potential to spark regional conflict. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

JAKARTA, Indonesia — The U.N.'s human rights chief warned Monday that Myanmar's persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority has the potential to spark regional conflict.

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein reiterated while in Indonesia that acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing may have occurred in the campaign of violence against Rohingya that sparked an exodus of nearly 700,000 people to neighboring Bangladesh.

"Myanmar faces a very serious crisis with a potentially severe impact on the security of the region," Zeid said in a speech to a rights conference at Indonesia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"It is sometimes said that today's human rights violations will become tomorrow's conflicts," he said. "If the Rohingya crisis were to spark a broader conflict based on religious identities, the ensuing disputes could be a cause for great alarm."

Zeid said the spasms of violence that began in August and sparked the refugee crisis were the culmination of five decades of discrimination and violence against Rohingya in Myanmar's Rakhine state.

The government of predominantly Buddhist Myanmar denies any atrocities have taken place and insists Rohingya are illegal immigrants.

Zeid also expressed concern about the deteriorating state of democracy in Asia even as countries in the region become wealthier.

On the pretext of protecting public security, numerous governments are cracking down on freedom of expression and attacking the independence of the court system and independence of the press, he said.

Indonesia's poor human rights record, including persecution of religious minorities, LGBT people and indigenous Papuans, is expected to be under scrutiny during Zeid's three-day visit.

People also read these

China says 2,500 wartime Japanese chemical weapons destroyed

Jan 17, 2017

China's military says more than 2,500 abandoned Japanese chemical weapons collected from northern...

China plans for 50,000 football academies by 2025

Feb 22, 2017

China's football association is planning for the country to have 50,000 football academies by 2025...

China's coal consumption falls for 3rd year in a row

Feb 28, 2017

China has released data showing that the country's consumption of coal fell in 2016 for a third...

China says Dalai Lama border visit would damage India ties

Mar 4, 2017

China is warning of "severe damage" to relations with India if the Dalai Lama proceeds with a visit...

Unfettered online hate speech fuels Islamophobia in China

Apr 10, 2017

Homeowners in a central Chinese city were so opposed to the planned construction of a mosque in...

AseanCoverage is a next-gen news site focusing exclusively on online news from South East Asia.

Contact us: sales[at]aseancoverage.com