Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Tech | By Anita Cain

UN Rights Official: Events in Rakhine State Bear Hallmarks of Genocide

UN Rights Official: Events in Rakhine State Bear Hallmarks of Genocide

Amnesty's analysis of new satellite imagery appears to prove that at least three new security bases have been built in Rakhine since January, while more were found to be under construction, The Telegraph reported. "New bases are being erected to house the very same security forces that have committed crimes against humanity against Rohingya", said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International's Crisis Response Director.

The report comes on the heels of a similar investigation published by Human Rights Watch in February, in which the organization alleged Myanmar's forces were demolishing Rohingya villages in order to erase any proof of human rights abuses that may have been committed in Rakhine. A large number of Rohingyas were forced out of the country in August 2017 in retaliation after the minority Muslim group's militants launched a series of attacks on police outposts.

The exact death toll can not be confirmed since Myanmar's government restricts obstructs reporters from covering the ongoing crisis in Rakhine State.

The UN has been blocked from investigating sites where thousands of Rohingya are believed to have been killed. Meanwhile, Myanmar and Bangladesh have signed a repatriation deal, though it has not begun yet.

Wells said the new development makes it impossible for the Myanmar government to fulfill its pledge to allow Rohingya refugees to return to their homes.

Amnesty International cited new satellite images and eyewitness testimony as evidence.

"It's not true that we are deploying the military among houses and among villages", he said, adding that bulldozing is necessary to work on burned land.

The images also show new refugee reception centres surrounded by the new security fences and a heavy presence of military forces, raising concerns that Myanmar is preparing to restrict the freedom of the Rohingya refugees returning home to safety.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, told the Human Rights Council on Monday she was increasingly of the opinion that the events in Rakhine State bear the hallmarks of genocide and called in the strongest terms for accountability.

Entire villages were burned to the ground previous year as Burmese forces swept through Rakhine, killing and raping in a campaign the United Nations human rights chief called a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing".

"It was used to convey public messages but we know that the ultra-nationalist Buddhists have their own Facebooks and are really inciting a lot of violence and a lot of hatred against the Rohingya or other ethnic minorities", she said.

Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar are one of the most persecuted and discriminated against groups of the 21st century.

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