UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Pramila Patten has said the widespread atrocities against Rohingya women and girls may amount to war crimes.
She made the statement at a press conference on Thursday, reports the Indian Express.
Pramila, who met many Rohingya victims of sexual violence in Bangladesh camps during a visit this month, also fully endorsed the assessment by UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein that Rohingya have been victims of "ethnic cleansing."
The UN envoy said widespread atrocities have been orchestrated and perpetrated by Myanmar’s military and may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
She also indentified the widespread use of sexual violence as one of the reason that forced more than 620,000 Rohingya to flee Myanmar.
She said it was “also a calculated tool of terror aimed at the extermination and removal of the Rohingya as a group”.
Patten said during her visit to the Rohingya camps she heard heartbreaking, shocking and horrific accounts of abuses committed cold bloodedly with unparallelled hatred against the Rohingya community.
She said sexual violence including gang rape by soldiers, forced public nudity and sexual slavery and it was clearly being used “as a tool of dehumanisation and as a form of punishment.”
Quoting the witnesses, she said even before August 25, Myanmar troops threw Rohingya babies into fires or into village wells to contaminate the water and deprive residents of drinking water.