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Myanmar Rejects UN Report on Rohingya Crisis

FILE - Myanmar government spokesman Zaw Htay talks to journalists during a news briefing at the Presidential Palace in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Sept 13, 2017.

Myanmar is rejecting the findings of a special United Nations investigative panel accusing the military of genocide and other human rights abuses during last year's crackdown against the minority Rohingya Muslims.

The fact-finding mission issued a scathing report Monday on the military's crackdown on the Rohingya in northern Rakhine state last August. The investigators have called for General Min Aung Hlaing, the commander-in-chief of Myanmar's army, and five other generals, to be tried for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

But Myanmar government spokesman Zaw Htay told state-run media Wednesday that "we don't agree and accept any resolutions" by the U.N.'s Human Rights Council, which sanctioned the report, because it refused to allow the investigators to enter the country.

Zaw Htay said the government had established its own Commission of Enquiry to respond to "false allegations" made by the U.N. and "other international communities."

A Rohingya refugee cries during Eid al-Adha prayer in Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Aug. 22, 2018.
A Rohingya refugee cries during Eid al-Adha prayer in Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Aug. 22, 2018.

The spokesman also denounced Facebook's decision to shut down the pages of General Min Aung Hlaing and other top military officials. The social media giant accused the military leaders of using the platform for spreading hateful and misleading information about the Rohingya.

The UN panel based its report on interviews with hundreds of the 700,000 Rohingya refugees forced to flee across the border into Bangladesh after the military launched an offensive in response to a series of attacks by Rohingya militants on security outposts. The witnesses revealed numerous atrocities including gang rapes, the torching of entire villages and extrajudicial killings.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley told a Security Council meeting Tuesday that a separate investigation carried out by the U.S. State Department on the Rohingya crisis echoed the findings from the independent U.N. mission.

“The attacks were planned, premeditated and coordinated," Haley said. "The perpetrator was the Burmese military and security forces." Burma is the former name for Myanmar, but is still used by other countries.