The United Nations is delivering a grim self-assessment Monday of its handling of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, calling its response a “systemic failure,” according to a Monday report from The Guardian.
“Without question, serious errors were committed and opportunities were lost in the UN system following a fragmented strategy rather than a common plan of action,” former Guatemalan Foreign Minister Gert Rosenthal wrote in an internal review obtained by The Guardian ahead of its planned public release later this week.
“The overall responsibility was of a collective nature; in other words it can truly be characterised as a systemic failure of the United Nations,” the report adds.
Beginning in August 2017, the country’s military launched a crackdown on Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority, which led to thousands of killings, the destruction of villages, the rape of women and children, and the displacement of more than 700,000 people across the border into Bangladesh.
Rosenthal’s report says the situation was exacerbated by competing U.N. strategies, including diplomacy with Myanmar’s government amid public condemnation of human rights abuses, according to The Guardian.
“Even at the highest level of the organisation there was no common strategy,” the report says, which left the U.N. “relatively impotent to effectively work with the authorities of Myanmar to reverse the negative trends in the area of human rights.”
“This report will be helpful if it can push the UN in a better direction, but it appears to have dodged the most difficult task of unearthing what specifically went wrong in Myanmar,” Matthew Smith, the chief executive of the nongovernmental organization Fortify Rights, told The Guardian. “There are no easy answers but some level of accountability is needed.”