Myanmar erasing evidence of Rohingya crimes

Myanmar erasing evidence of Rohingya crimes

Myanmar's Rakhine State, where hundreds of thousands of ethnic Rohingya Muslims were forced to flee a violent expulsion campaign past year, is being militarized by Burmese security forces at a rapid pace, according to a chilling new report from Amnesty International.

They say satellite images show Rohingya villages are being bulldozed to make way for military bases.

A human rights group says Myanmar is building bases on land where the homes and mosques of Rohingya Muslims once stood.

Satellite images released by Amnesty International allegedly show military installations, roads and helipads being built over the razed villages in the last few months.

Htin Lynn, Myanmar's permanent representative to the Geneva, rejected Lee's remarks, called on the Council to fire her, and said that Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi is committed to human rights, the news agency reported.

In a report published last December, the humanitarian group said the deaths of 71.7 percent or 6,700 Rohingya were caused by violence.

Since August 2017, the Buddhist-majority nation has reportedly driven almost 700,000 members of the besieged community into neighboring Bangladesh, as part of a wildly indiscriminate military crackdown the global community has called ethnic cleansing.

About 700,000 Rohingya - a mostly Muslim minority - have since fled to neighbouring Bangladesh, joining refugees from previous waves of violence.

"This makes the voluntary, safe and dignified return of Rohingya refugees an even more distant prospect", she said.

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"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.

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.

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.

"They have been living in Bangladesh for a long time as [ethnic] minorities", said lawmaker Hla Tun Kyaw.

"I have heard that local majority people threatened them and didn't let them buy their products", he said.

So far, civil society organizations and local communities have provided the returnees with enough food for a month, Hla Tun Kyaw said.

Delivering her report to the Council in Geneva, Lee said that to date accountability for the crimes committed in Rakhine State following 25 August 2017, and 9 October 2016, was elusive, adding that this must now be the focus of the worldwide community's efforts to bring long-lasting peace, stability and democratization to Myanmar.

The Indian diplomats later met with officials of the General Administration Department in Taungpyo Letwe, the post said. Translated by Khet Mar.