Myanmar bulldozing Rohingya villages, human rights group claims

Rushanara 100 British MPs for ICC referral for Myanmar military

Rushanara 100 British MPs for ICC referral for Myanmar military

Satellite imagery shows Myanmar authorities have bulldozed at least 55 Rohingya villages in northern Rakhine in recent months, Human Rights Watch said yesterday, condemning the government for erasing evidence at sites where troops are accused of atrocities.

HRW said at least 55 villages had been razed to the ground since late 2017, after almost 700,000 Rohingya fled to neighboring Bangladesh to escape military and civilian reprisals in the state.

HRW has called on Myanmar to preserve the villages until they can be investigated by United Nations experts in order to document human rights violations.

Most of the 55 demolished villages are among the 362 that were destroyed by Myanmar security forces and Rakhine Buddhist vigilante groups in the wake of attacks on security outposts by the Rohingya insurgent group ARSA on August 25, 2017.

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"The government's clearing of dozens of villages only heightens concerns about Rohingya families being able to return home", Adams said.

Rohingya people who were forced into exile also fear the operation is aimed at preventing them from returning to their villages and at destroying the remnants of their cultural heritage.

HRW called on the United Nations Security Council, U.N. agencies, and worldwide donors to demand that the government stop destroying the villages "which should be treated as crime scenes" until a U.N. -appointed fact-finding commission is allowed into the region to conduct an investigation.

Meanwhile, Associated Press released aerial photos showing dozens of empty villages and hamlets in Rakhine state that have been bulldozed by Myanmar authorities. The camp opened in January to house returning refugees but so far none have arrived and Rohingya have continued to flee. HRW calls on the government to allow United Nations fact-finding team in to Rakhine state. - Reuters picDHAKA, Feb 23 ― A wild elephant yesterday trampled to death two people, including a child, as it rampaged through a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh, officials said.

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The U.S. and Canada have already imposed sanctions on Myanmar military officers, including Major General Maung Maung Soe, head of the Myanmar Army's Western Command, who led the military's brutal crackdown on the Rohingya.

Following the discovery of a mass grave in the village of Inn Din in late December, the Myanmar military, however, admitted that members of the security forces and Rakhine villagers had unlawfully killed 10 men and violated the "rules of engagement". The Burmese government has failed to credibly investigate serious alleged abuses committed by security forces since August 25, which Human Rights Watch has found the amount to crimes against humanity. The government has arrested 16 people in connection with the massacre, and says it will "take action according to the law". The HRW has also said that these settlements should be preserved as "crime scenes". "The villagers can take our wood and beat us, so we are afraid of them and we never go alone".

Urgent efforts are needed to help the refugees who are threatened either by the approaching cyclone season or by ongoing violence and denial of their basic rights in Myanmar, the UNICEF said in a report published on Friday.

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