Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

'Hallmarks of genocide' in Myanmar: UN expert

'Hallmarks of genocide' in Myanmar: UN expert

A report by Amnesty International includes satellite photographs of the military development, which is proceeding despite promises by the government that Rohingya Muslims displaced since last August will be allowed to return home to Burma, also known as Myanmar.

Diplomats from the Indian embassy in Myanmar survey land where their government will build homes for ethnic minorities in Maungdaw township in western Myanmar's Rakhine state, February 10, 2018.

Amnesty International's latest research reveals how whole villages of burned Rohingya houses have been bulldosed since January.

Lee called for a thorough, impartial and credible investigation to be conducted without delay and perpetrators to be held responsible for the alleged crimes that were committed in Rakhine State since 9 October 2016 and 25 August 2017, and for the violations that continue today.

Amnesty's report, "Remaking Rakhine State", says that along with new civilian infrastructure to accommodate returnees, the region is being "militarised at an alarming pace".

In January, officials said they were ready to start repatriating refugees living in Bangladeshi camps, but many are refusing to return until they get guarantees of safety and basic rights. The latest satellite images suggest that this process is underway.

"What we are seeing in Rakhine is an occupation of land by military on a dramatic scale. New bases are being erected to house the very same security forces that have committed crimes against humanity against Rohingyas".

Many in the worldwide community have condemned the violence, suggesting it could constitute ethnic cleansing or even genocide. "Contributing to entrenching a system that systematically discriminates against Rohingya and that makes the return of refugees even less likely could amount to assisting in crimes against humanity".

Exodus of refugees across the border into Bangladesh has continued into 2018.

An Amnesty report published on Monday echoed previous ones by saying the remains of some of those villages - and some buildings not previously damaged - had been bulldozed.

"People are in a panic", one refugee in Bangladesh, who fled his village in January, told the rights watchdog. The last step of Beijing initiative, which invests in projects of a different nature in Rakhine, is to find a long-term solution based on developing state, one of most depauperados in country.

Nearly 700,000 people have fled northern Rakhine State to Bangladesh in the last six months following a wave violence which the United Nations has called ethnic cleansing.

The UN Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights Andrew Gilmour last week said that "ethnic cleansing" against the Rohingya was continuing in Rakhine State through a "campaign of terror and forced starvation" intending to drive the remaining Rohingya population into Bangladesh.

Spokesperson Colm O'Gorman says it makes it even more hard for refugees to return home.

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