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UN Rights Council Sets Up Team to Document Myanmar Crimes

FILE - In this Nov. 27, 2017, photo, a Rohingya man demonstrates what he saw when soldiers bound the hands of dozens of men behind their backs with nylon rope and blindfolded them with scarves taken from women when they massacred his village of Maung Nu in Myanmar's Rakhine state.

The U.N. Human Rights Council agreed Thursday to set up a team that will document alleged crimes committed by the Myanmar government against the country’s Rohingya minority.

The 47-member council voted 35-3 in favor of creating an “independent mechanism” that will follow up on a previous fact-finding commission.

“The new mechanism mandated today will collect and preserve evidence and prepare case files for any future criminal prosecution of those responsible for some of the gravest crimes under international law,” said Tirana Hassan of Amnesty International in a statement, calling for the U.N. Security Council to refer the matter to the International Criminal Court.

More than 700,000 members of the mostly Muslim Rohingya have fled to neighboring Bangladesh from Rakhine state since the largely Buddhist government of Myanmar began a widespread crackdown across the region in 2017 in response to of series of attacks committed by Rohingya militants.

International observers have accused the Myanmar military of burning villages and committing mass rape, torture and murder. The U.N. has referred to the situation as a “textbook case of ethnic cleansing.”

Rohingya have long dealt with discrimination at the hands of the government of Myanmar. The group has been denied citizenship for decades, essentially rendering its members stateless.