March 23, 2018

Myanmar: UN expert calls for accountability over violence

13 March 2018, 03:49 | Pamela Mathis

Who's calling the shots for the Rohingya people?

Who’s calling the shots for the Rohingya people

She said development was "sorely needed" in Rakhine, one of Myanmar's poorest states, but that it "must benefit everyone in the state regardless of their ethnicity, not entrench the existing system of apartheid against Rohingya people".

"Not only does the Myanmar government have a responsibility to account for the alleged crimes in Rakhine state since October 9, 2016, and August 25, 2017, and the violations that continue today, but the worldwide community must also be vigilant", Lee said.

After destroying Rahonigya villages in the Rakhine state with the bulldozers Myanmar has started building security installations on the land, Amnesty International said. At least three new such facilities are reportedly under construction.

It claims the largest is in the village of Ah Lel Chaung in Buthidaung Township, where eyewitnesses said the military forcibly evicted Rohingya from certain areas to make way for construction.

The report said the bases would house the same security forces that committed crimes against the Rohingya.

"It is unreasonable to assert that our leadership, whose mission has human rights at its core, remains indifferent to the allegations of grave human rights violations", he said, insisting that the government was "ready to take action where there is clear evidence".

Nearly six months after launching the military operation, Myanmar's military has admitted to only killing 10 captured Rohingya men, who, it claims, were "terrorists".

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(COMBO) This handout image of a satellite photograph released by Amnesty International and DigitalGlobe on March 12, 2018 shows new structures and fencing built over the previously burnt village of Kan Kya in Myanmar's Rakhine State.

Satellite imagery also shows how new refugee reception centres - meant to "welcome" Rohingya who return from Bangladesh - are surrounded by security fences and close to areas with a heavy presence of military and border guard personnel.

According to Bangladesh government's statistics, an average of 75 Rohingya refugees fled their villages in Myanmar every day between January 1 and February 15. Meanwhile, Myanmar and Bangladesh have signed a repatriation deal, though it has not begun yet.

In January, Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed on a two-year timeframe for the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees.

Amnesty International's report comes as Yanghee Lee, the United Nations' independent investigator on human rights in Myanmar, told the U.N. Human Rights Council on Monday that the Myanmar government appears to be using a policy of starvation in Rakhine state to force out remaining Muslims, Reuters reported.

This is worrying since authorities have in the past resettled members of other ethnic groups into Rakhine State as part of efforts to develop the region.

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