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News > World

Myanmar Military Burned Nearly 400 Rohingya Villages: Report

  • A house is seen on fire in Gawduthar village, Maungdaw township, in the north of Rakhine state, Myanmar September 7, 2017.

    A house is seen on fire in Gawduthar village, Maungdaw township, in the north of Rakhine state, Myanmar September 7, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 18 December 2017
Opinion

"Analysis of satellite imagery reveals new destruction of Rohingya villages during October and November 2017 in northern Rakhine State in Burma," the advocacy group's report said. 

Despite the Myanmar government claiming otherwise, a Human Rights Watch, HRW, report stated that Myanmar has continued to burn villages in the Rakhine state since August, so far, nearly 40 villages have been burned.  

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Myanmar Could Be Responsible For Genocide Against Rohingya: UN

"Analysis of satellite imagery reveals new destruction of Rohingya villages during October and November 2017 in northern Rakhine State in Burma," the advocacy group's report said. 

Military's "clearance operations" commenced in Rakhine state late August, so far, burning 354 villages, some of which have been wiped out proving that the Rohingya who have been forced to flee the region cannot return safely to their homes. 

The Burmese State Counsellor’s office announced the end of clearance operations in early September, but of the 354 villages impacted, at least 118 were either partially or completely destroyed after September 5. 

 Of the 40 new villages with building destruction identified by HRW, 24 were destroyed in October, 11 in November, and 5 over both months. 

"The Burmese army’s destruction of Rohingya villages within days of signing a refugee repatriation agreement with Bangladesh shows that commitments to safe returns were just a public relations stunt," Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch told the Guardian. 

"The satellite imagery shows what the Burmese army denies: that Rohingya villages continue to be destroyed. Burmese government pledges to ensure the safety of returning Rohingya cannot be taken seriously." 

The organization which used satellite imagery to assess and monitor over 1,000 villages and towns in the townships of Maungdaw, Buthidaung, and Rathiduang, where the Burmese military and vigilantes have engaged in attacks on Rohingya found that "the damage patterns in the 354 affected villages are consistent with burning occurring in the weeks after the military operations began in late August."

Last week, Medecins Sans Frontieres estimated that at least 6,700 Rohingya, including 700 children, have been killed since the August military crackdown, with an estimated 870,000 Rohingya fleeing the country in recent years.

Earlier this month, the UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, said he could not rule out a possibility of genocide. 

"Given all of this, can anyone rule out that elements of genocide may be present?" top UN official said. 

"It’s very hard to establish because the thresholds are high," Hussein told the BBC. "But it wouldn’t surprise me in the future if the court were to make such a finding on the basis of what we see."

He said UN investigators had heard a testimony of a "consistent, methodical pattern of killings, torture, rape, and arson." 

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