Australia considering Myanmar sanctions amid damning UN report on atrocities

Australia is considering targeted sanctions against Myanmar over atrocities committed against the Rohingya minority.

Australia is considering targeted sanctions in response to atrocities committed against the Rohingya people in Myanmar.

The United Nations has recommended Myanmar's top military generals be investigated for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

After a UN fact-finding mission documented a series of atrocities committed against ethnic minorities, Australia is preparing to act.

"The full report of the fact-finding mission adds to a large body of evidence indicating the commission of the most serious crimes under international law, particularly against the Rohingya," Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on Wednesday.

"The Australian government is considering options in response to the fact-finding mission's report, including targeted sanctions."

The report found crimes against humanity and war crimes have occurred in Myanmar's Rakhine State, as well as finding sufficient evidence to warrant an investigation and prosecutions for genocide perpetrated against the Rohingya.

Senator Payne said Australia will support new international efforts on justice in Myanmar, including at the UN Human Rights Council.

"As a regional partner, Australia will continue to support efforts to achieve democracy and national peace and reconciliation for the benefit of all of people in Myanmar," Senator Payne said.

The United States, UK and European Union have all taken steps to suspend military cooperation with the Myanmar military.

Australia maintains an arms embargo, but rights groups are concerned the government continues to offer the Myanmar military support through humanitarian assistance, peacekeeping and English-language training.

There are more than 900,000 displaced Rohingya in Bangladesh and another 530,000 in Rakhine State.

Australia has provided $70 million in humanitarian assistance to deliver emergency supplies to Rakhine State and food, water, shelter and healthcare to Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh.

Published 19 September 2018 at 9:54am, updated 19 September 2018 at 10:33am