Myanmar militarising Rohingya villages

Lynette Rowe
March 13, 2018

A human rights group says Myanmar is building bases on land where the homes and mosques of Rohingya Muslims once stood. Amnesty believes they are part of a new base for security forces.

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. They are building centers to house same security forces that have committed crimes against humanity against Rohingya, "says Hassan of AI".

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

A man walks past the entrance of a camp set up by Myanmar's Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Minister to prepare for the repatriation of displaced Rohingyas, who fled to Bangladesh, outside Maungdaw in the state of Rakhine, Myanmar January 24, 2018.

Earlier a report had emerged saying that Myanmar government was destroying Rohingya villages in the Rakhine state with the help of bulldozers in a bid to erase the pieces of evidence of mass atrocities conducted against the Muslim minority group of Rohingyas.

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

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"Not only are their homes gone, but the new construction is entrenching the already dehumanizing discrimination they have faced in Myanmar", Hassan added.

Repatriations were scheduled to begin during the fourth week of January, but have yet to start on account of various delays for which officials from each side have blamed the other.

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

The quest for accountability "must be aimed at the individuals who gave the orders and carried out violations against individuals and entire ethnic and religious groups", Lee said. "The Government leadership who did nothing to intervene, stop, or condemn these acts must also be held accountable". Myanmar, which impedes entry into Rakhine of independent United Nations researchers or human rights organizations, has in past argued that its need to reinforce security and invest in infrastructure in that area responds to need to make In face of threat posed by ARSA, which it considers a terrorist group.

"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.

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