On 20 June the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report on the situation of the Rohingya in Burma/Myanmar. The report detailed widespread and systematic “gross human rights violations,” including discriminatory policies targeting the Rohingya on the basis of their ethnic and/or religious identity, amounting to possible crimes against humanity. The High Commissioner urged the new government of Burma/Myanmar to take concrete steps to end systemic discrimination against minorities.
The humanitarian situation in Iraq remains dire amidst ongoing military operations by the Iraqi Security Forces to retake Fallujah from the so-called Islamic State (ISIL). On 20 June OCHA said that while over 83,000 civilians have fled Fallujah, there are reports of people drowning or being wounded by snipers and improvised explosives during their escape. Thousands of families are still trapped in the city. Meanwhile, on 16 June the UN Human Rights Council’s Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria reported that ISIL has committed genocide against the Yazidi minority in Iraq.
Violence erupted in Bangui, Central African Republic, on 20 June between UN peacekeepers and an armed group. At least 10 people were killed in clashes around the flash-point KM5 market area. An additional 16 people were killed in clashes between ex-Séléka factions near Kaga Bandoro in central CAR. Despite a period of relative stability following the establishment of the new government, this violence leaves civilians in Bangui and the interior at renewed risk of attack.
As the UN marked World Refugee Day on 20 June, UNHCR reported that more than 65 million people are displaced by war and persecution. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon argued that while the international community must help end the conflicts causing this “unprecedented” level of displacement, “our responses to refugees must be grounded in our shared values of responsibility sharing, non-discrimination, and human rights and in international refugee law, including the principle of non-refoulement.” Millions of the displaced have fled from mass atrocity situations, including populations from Iraq, Yemen, South Sudan and Nigeria, with Syria’s 4.9 million refugees and 6.9 million IDPs making the largest contribution to the global crisis.