Rohingya refugees line up at an aid relief distribution center at the Balukhali refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, August 12, 2018.

© 2018 Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

(Geneva) – The United Nations Human Rights Council should act to preserve evidence and create a path to justice for victims of atrocities in Myanmar, Human Rights Watch said today in issuing a question and answer document. The Human Rights Council is expected to adopt a resolution on the human rights situation in Myanmar as part of its 39th session, which starts on September 10, 2018.

The session follows the report in August by the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, which detailed crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide by Myanmar’s security forces in Rakhine State. The council created the panel in March 2017 to document violations by Myanmar’s security forces and non-state armed groups “with a view to ensuring full accountability for perpetrators and justice for victims.” The report also examined abuses in Shan and Kachin States.

“The Human Rights Council should demonstrate its resolve to bring Myanmar’s generals to justice for their heinous crimes,” said John Fisher, Geneva director. “The council should underline the UN Security Council’s responsibility to refer Myanmar to the International Criminal Court and create an evidence-gathering body to prepare case files for future trials.”

The Fact-Finding Mission recommended that either the Human Rights Council or the UN General Assembly should create as a matter of urgency an international, independent, impartial mechanism, similar to the one on Syria. As an appendix to its recent report, the Fact-Finding Mission will provide a detailed compilation of its findings and conclusions to the Human Rights Council on September 18.

The question and answer document analyzes the Fact-Finding Mission’s report, the role of the Human Rights Council in addressing its findings, the need for a Security Council referral of Myanmar to the International Criminal Court (ICC), and the recent decision by ICC judges confirming the court’s jurisdiction for the crime of deportation.