40 Rohingya villages burned in Myanmar since October: HRW

Human Rights Watch says it has identified 40 Rohingya villages in Myanmar’s Rakhine State that had buildings destroyed in October and November.

News Deskbdnews24.com
Published : 18 Dec 2017, 05:59 AM
Updated : 18 Dec 2017, 08:16 AM

This brings the total number of villages partially or completely destroyed since the military crackdown began in August up to 354, it said in a statement on Monday.

Satellite imagery analysis performed by the group showed that dozens of buildings were burned the week of Nov 23, when Myanmar and Bangladesh signed an agreement begin returning refugees in Bangladesh within two months.

An updated map of destruction of Rohingya villages in northern Rakhine State during October and November 2017. Digital Globe

“The Burmese army’s destruction of Rohingya villages within days of signing a refugee repatriation agreement with Bangladesh shows that commitments to safe returns were just a public relations stunt,” said Human Rights Watch Asia director Brad Adams.

“The satellite imagery shows what the Burmese army denies: that Rohingya villages continue to be destroyed. Burmese government pledges to ensure the safety of returning Rohingya cannot be taken seriously.”

This photo taken on Sep 11 from Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar, which is separated by the Naf River from Myanmar's Rakhine state, shows burning houses. Photo: mostafigur rahman/bdnews24.com

The latest reports in the statement occurred between Nov 25 and Dec 2, when an active fire was spotted at Myo Mi Chang village in Maungdaw on and four villages were damaged.

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“The UN Security Council and concerned governments shouldn’t continue to stand by as evidence of continuing attacks on the Rohingya community comes to light,” Adams said.

“Targeted sanctions need to be imposed now against those responsible for ordering and carrying out crimes against humanity.”

An estimated 655,000 Rohingyas have fled across the border from Myanmar since Aug 25, when armed insurgent attacks killed 11 members of the Myanmar security forces. Some 400,000 Rohingya refugees were already living in Bangladesh prior to the recent influx, having crossed the border to escape persecution at various points in the past few decades.