World Bulletin / News Desk
In a statement posted on the Human Rights Watch (HRW) website on Thursday, Asia director Brad Adams said the Rohingya crisis was one of the worst human rights catastrophes in Asia in years.
“World leaders shouldn’t return home from these summits without agreeing to targeted sanctions to pressure Burma [Myanmar] to end its abuses and allow in independent observers and aid groups,” Adams urged.
Heads of state from nine nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other world leaders are scheduled to meet in the Philippines for the 31st ASEAN Leaders Summit on Nov. 13-14. They are expected to arrive in Manila starting on Friday.
According to HRW, the UN Security Council "should impose an arms embargo and targeted economic sanctions and travel bans on military officials implicated in atrocities".
"Leaders at the Asia summits should jointly call on the Burmese government to allow access to northern Rakhine State by the UN fact-finding mission created by the Human Rights Council in 2016, as well as other UN human rights and humanitarian staff," said HRW.
“The International Criminal Court was created precisely to deal with crimes against humanity like those being committed in Burma,” Adams said. “Members of the Security Council attending the Asia summits should be discussing referring the situation in Burma to The Hague.”
Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
The UN documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings and disappearances committed by security personnel.
In a report earlier this year, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.
Adams also urged world leaders to discuss Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte's campaign against illegal drugs, which, according tp the rights group, consists of "extrajudicial killings targeting drug dealers and users, whose victims are predominantly the urban poor, including children".
"Surely someone from among the 20 world leaders at these summits can confront Duterte about his horrific and unprecedented 'drug war' killings," Adams said.
"Widespread summary executions of drug suspects are not just illegal, they are ineffectual and cruel," he added.
Duterte's war on drugs began in July 2016 and has led to extrajudicial killing of thousands, according to police data.