World

Myanmar 'militarizing' burnt Rohingya villages

Myanmar 'militarizing' burnt Rohingya villages

Burma is allegedly building military bases on top of razed Rohingya villages, raising questions over the safety of hundreds of thousands of persecuted refugees who are due to be repatriated.

"What we are seeing in Rakhine State is a land grab by the military on a dramatic scale", Tirana Hassan, Amnesty's crisis response director, said in a statement, adding how the new construction makes the much-debated return of Rohingya refugees even more impossible. But the process stalled as both Myanmar and Bangladesh could not complete the initial process for repatriation of the displaced people.

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

Amnesty said Myanmar's "reshaping" of the region where the Rohingya lived appeared to be created to accommodate more security forces and non-Rohingya villagers, and could deter refugees from agreeing to return. "The authorities can not be allowed to continue their campaign of ethnic cleansing in the name of 'development". Construction appears to have started in January.

Aerial imagery of Kan Kya, Rakhine State, Burma.

Nearly six months after launching the military operation, Myanmar's military has admitted to only killing 10 captured Rohingya men, who, it claims, were "terrorists".

After driving almost 700,000 Rohingya Muslims out of the country, Myanmar's military is building bases where some of their homes and mosques once stood, Amnesty International said on Monday, citing new evidence from satellite imagery. They have been regarded by many majority Buddhists as illegal migrants from Bangladesh.




Amnesty International says its images show the reception centres, which have been built to house returning Rohingya, are surrounded by security fences and close to areas with a heavy military presence. Tens of thousands of Rohingya, who were driven from their homes during waves of violence in 2012, have for years been confined to open-air prisons in squalid displacement camps.

However, that does not appear to be the case as Amnesty claims the new construction, as stated above, seems to be designed for the military as well as non-Rohingya villagers.

Burmese security forces stand accused of mass rape, killings and arson against civilians in scores of Muslim villages in the wake of an attack by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on military and police outposts on Aug 25, 2017.

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.

Myanmar has denied it is covering up evidence, saying it is improving the standards of living in one of the country's poorest states.

"The remaking of Rakhine State is taking place in a shroud of secrecy". The authorities can not be allowed to continue their campaign of ethnic cleansing in the name of "development".

Amnesty said the developments in Rakhine were likely to signal further persecution when the Rohingya refugees return.


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