Myanmar military denies atrocities against Rohingya Muslims

15 November, 2017, 12:06 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Human Rights Watch accuses Myanmar military of widespread rape

Amnesty International's regional director for Southeast Asia James Gomez said in a statement that "once again, Myanmar's military is trying to sweep serious violations against the Rohingya under the carpet ... it has no intention of ensuring accountability - it's now up to the worldwide community to step up to ensure these appalling abuses do not go unpunished".

The report stated that almost 376 "terrorists" were killed in fighting during the August attacks.

Myanmar has received a reprieve from formal criticism by a regional Asian group on the Rohingya crisis, but tough talks with the United States await when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets with de facto national leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the military commander-in-chief on Wednesday.

Almost 600,000 Rohingya, who have been displaced from the Rakhine state in the exodus described as a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing" by the United Nations, are now living in deplorable conditions in makeshift camps in regions bordering Bangladesh.

The Myanmar Police Force and Border Guard Bangladesh hold a conference to discuss border security in Myanmar's capital Naypyidaw, Nov. 14, 2017.

Some U.S. senators are now pursuing legislation to impose economic and travel sanctions on the armed forces and their business interests.

Myanmar's government and most of the Buddhist majority say the members of the Muslim minority are "Bengalis" who migrated illegally from Bangladesh and do not acknowledge the Rohingya as a local ethnic group even though they have lived in Myanmar for generations.

Rakhine's northernmost Maungdaw district was once home to around three quarters of Myanmar's 1.1 million-strong Rohingya population, according to government figures.

With fewer boats available, desperate Rohingya have been stringing together rafts from bamboo and plastic canisters.

Bob Geldof yesterday returned his Freedom of Dublin in protest against the Nobel Peace Prize victor who held the same honour.

"We remain gravely concerned by continuing reports of violence and human rights abuses committed by Burmese security forces and vigilantes".

Parliamentarians said that the outcome constituted an insufficient response to developments in Rakhine State, and that the avoidance of key details indicated ASEAN's failure to address the drivers of the crisis.

The military said that its report was based on interviews with 3,217 Rohingya villagers, whose citizenship has not been recognized in the country and were referred to in the report as "Bengalis".

The organisation added that "there is overwhelming evidence that the military has murdered and raped Rohingya and burned their villages to the ground" and called for an investigation by the UN.

"After recording countless stories of horror and using satellite analysis to track the growing devastation we can only reach one conclusion: These attacks amount to crimes against humanity".

On Monday, British Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman stated that the crisis in Myanmar "looks like ethnic cleansing". And it is something for which the Burmese authorities - and especially the military - must take full responsibility.

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