PH votes against U.N. draft resolution on Rohingya in Myanmar

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 18 2017 02:12 AM | Updated as of Nov 19 2017 12:41 AM

Ahmed, a Rohingya refugee man cries as he holds his 40-day-old son, who died as a boat capsized in the shore of Shah Porir Dwip while crossing Bangladesh-Myanmar border, in Teknaf, Bangladesh. Reuters/file photo

The Philippines on Thursday voted against a United Nations General Assembly committee draft resolution on the human rights situation in Myanmar.

It was among 10 nations that opposed the draft text which calls for full and unhindered humanitarian aid access and for Myanmar to grant full citizenship rights to Rohingya Muslims, who are treated by Buddhists as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

A total of 135 countries voted in favor of the resolution while 26 abstained, paving the way for the revival of the text which was dropped last year due to the country's progress on human rights under the leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi.

More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh due to military operations against Rohingya militants, who attacked 30 security posts and an army base in Rakhine state on Aug. 25.

This prompted the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to put forward a new draft U.N. resolution, which will now be formally adopted by the 193-member General Assembly next month. The resolution deepens international pressure, but has no legal consequences.

It also urges U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to appoint a special envoy on Myanmar.

Myanmar is refusing entry to a U.N. panel that was tasked with investigating allegations of abuses after a smaller military counteroffensive launched in October 2016.

Myanmar's army released a report on Monday denying all allegations of rapes and killings by security forces, days after replacing the general in charge of the military operation in Rakhine state.

The 15-member U.N. Security Council last week urged the Myanmar government to "ensure no further excessive use of military force in Rakhine state." It asked Guterres to report back in 30 days.

Human Rights Watch has accused Myanmar security forces on Thursday of committing widespread rape against women and girls, echoing an allegation by Pramila Patten, the U.N. special envoy on sexual violence in conflict, earlier this week. Patten said sexual violence was "being commanded, orchestrated and perpetrated by the Armed Forces of Myanmar." 

In the recently concluded ASEAN Summit in Manila, Southeast Asian leaders kept silent over accusations of ethnic cleansing carried out by Myanmar's army, instead expressing support for the country's efforts to bring peace and harmony to northern Rakhine state.

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs earlier expressed concern over recent developments in the Northern Rakhine State of Myanmar. 

It also condemned the attacks against Myanmar security forces on last August 25 and "all acts of violence which resulted in loss of civilian lives, destruction of homes and displacement of large numbers of people." --with a report from Reuters