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The head of a U.N. fact-finding mission on Myanmar warned Tuesday that “there is a serious risk of genocide recurring” against the estimated 600,000 members of the Rohingya Muslim minority still living in the country.

Marzuki Darusman told the General Assembly’s human rights committee that “if anything, the situation of the Rohingya in Arakan state has worsened,” citing continued discrimination, segregation, restricted movement, insecurity and a lack of access to land, jobs, education and health care. The government of Myanmar, a Buddhist-majority nation, has refused to recognize Rohingya as citizens or even as one of its ethnic groups, rendering the vast majority stateless.

The Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, which Darusman heads, said in its final report last month that Myanmar should be held responsible in international legal forums for alleged genocide against the Rohingya.

“There is a strong inference of continued genocidal intent on the part of the state in relation to the Rohingya and there is a serious risk of genocide recurring,” Darusman said Tuesday.

“Myanmar is failing in its obligations under the Genocide Convention to prevent genocide, to investigate genocide and to enact effective legislation and to enact effective legislation criminalizing and punishing genocide,” he said.

Darusman said the fact-finding mission has transferred 1,227 interviews with victims and witnesses of crimes against the Rohingya to another specially established U.N. body, the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar. It said the material included “a list of over 150 people suspected of involvement in numerous international crimes.”

He called on countries to support the investigation by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court of alleged crimes on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border and plans for Gambia, on behalf of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, to pursue a case against Myanmar before the International Court of Justice for breaching the 1948 Genocide Convention.

Darusman urged the assembly to also consider additional measures, including the establishment of an ad hoc tribunal like the U.N. did for crimes in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

Myanmar’s U.N. ambassador, Hau Do Suan, noted his government doesn’t recognize the fact-finding mission, calling its views “one-sided” and based on “misleading information and secondary sources.” He accused the mission of ignoring the situation of the Hindu minority and other ethnic minorities in Rakhine state.

Yanghee Lee, the U.N.’s independent investigator on Myanmar, told the assembly that the Independent Commission of Inquiry formed by Myanmar’s government “does not represent a possible end to this impunity.”

“It has not produced a single report after nearly 15 months,” she said.

Lee also urged the international community to impose sanctions on companies owned by Myanmar’s military and on “its commanders most responsible for serious violations.”

Lee said that “there is no discernible improvement” in the human rights situation in Myanmar.

“Discrimination against religious minorities continues unabated,” she said. “I am informed of 27 villages which describe themselves as ‘Muslim free,’ banning Muslims from entry.”

Myanmar’s government has barred both Darusman and Lee from entering the country — and both stressed that it is unsafe for the Rohingya refugees to return from Bangladesh.

AP