Myanmar 'Bulldozing' Rohingya Villages

26 February, 2018, 09:54 | Author: Austin Daniel

The report also called on the Myanmar government to end the violence against Rohingya Muslims, stating that they should have basic rights such as freedom of movement, access to healthcare and education, and livelihoods.

"Most of these villages were among the 362 villages completely or partially destroyed by arson since August 25, 2017, during the security forces' ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya", HRW said.

Authorities used heavy machinery to clear out all structures and vegetation in the villages, the images showed. A group named Human Rights Watch has said that the villages "should be treated as crime scenes" and preserved.

Campaigners say the United Nations must now demand the clearance is stopped and areas are treated as crime scenes until its independent investigation is carried out.

Brad Adams, HRW's Asia director, said the deliberate destruction of villages to hide evidence of "grave crimes" was obstruction of justice.

But, HRW says, bulldozing these areas threatens to erase both the memory and the legal claims of the Rohingyas who lived there.

She recently told the UK's Channel 4 News that there were grounds for bringing Myanmar's de facto leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, before an worldwide tribunal for failing to intervene in the "clearance operation" the military launched in Rakhine following militant attacks on several police posts and an army base on August 25 that killed 11 security personnel. Independent reporting or fact finding in the area by reporters or forensic experts has not been permitted.

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"The authorities want to cover up evidence of the atrocities and take away the land that belongs to the Rohingya".

The satellite images show that the initial demolition of heavily damaged or destroyed buildings in northern Rakhine State began in Maungdaw town in November 2017. HRW was not able to determine if the villages were still inhabited prior to demolition. "The roads will also be widened, and we will install lampposts as well".

"All these refugee camps have been built on forest land".

Reacting to the comments, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees emphasized in a statement that "any relocation plan involving refugees would need to be based on and implemented through voluntary and informed decisions". "If I were a Rohingya, I would not dare return". In the last four days, bombing of civilian areas, including 13 hospitals, in Eastern Ghouta has killed 310 people, many of them children. The camp opened in January to house returning refugees; but none have arrived and Rohingya have continued to flee.

"The only difference is now we have a Nobel Peace Prize victor complicit with the cover-up and serving as chief flak for the military", he said, referring to Aung San Suu Kyi's silence about the military violence against the Rohingya.

Over 100 parliamentarians have signed a letter urging the government to back a UN Security Council referral of the head of the Myanmar army General Min Aung Hlaing for crimes committed against the Rohingya people.

Meanwhile, the European Union is preparing to impose sanctions on Myanmar army generals and diplomats over the crackdown on the Rohingya.



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