Myanmar's Rohingya crisis 'bears hallmarks of genocide'

  • Myanmar's Rohingya crisis 'bears hallmarks of genocide'

Myanmar's Rohingya crisis 'bears hallmarks of genocide'

(COMBO) This handout image of a satellite photograph released by Amnesty International and DigitalGlobe on March 12, 2018 shows new structures and fencing built over the previously burnt village of Kan Kya in Myanmar's Rakhine State.

The rights group cites eyewitness testimony and analysis of satellite images as proof of the leveling of the remains of Rohingya villages.

"Not only does the Myanmar government have a responsibility to account for the alleged crimes in Rakhine state since October 9, 2016, and August 25, 2017, and the violations that continue today, but the global community must also be vigilant", Lee said.

Amnesty said the developments in Rakhine were likely to signal further persecution when the Rohingya refugees return. "Not only are their homes gone, but the new construction is entrenching the already dehumanising discrimination they have faced in Myanmar". "Myanmar's authorities are erasing evidence of crimes against humanity, making any future attempts to hold those responsible to account extremely hard", said Hassan. She called for the council to set up an entity in Bangladesh, where about 700,000 Rohingya have fled in the past six months, to collect evidence for potential trials.

Without responding to the criticism in detail, Myanmar's envoy Lynn said it was wrong to assert that Myanmar's leadership remained indifferent to the allegations. "Because of those posts, I called authorities in Maungdaw and asked about it, and they said it is not true".

Myanmar officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

In January, Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed on a two-year timeframe for the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees. A repatriation agreement with Bangladesh was supposed to come into force in January.

"Rohingya who fled death and destruction at the hands of the security forces are unlikely to find the prospect of living in close proximity to those same forces conducive to a safe return", the group said, "especially given the continuing lack of accountability for human rights violations".

Al Jazeera's Imtiaz Tyab reports.

Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been the target of global vitriol for a perceived failure to stand up for the stateless minority.

Meanwhile, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, sees growing evidence to suspect genocide has been committed in Rakhine State against the ethnic Rohingya population.

Myanmar's government had pledged to securely welcome back Rohingya refugees.

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 worked on farms, and their farms were destroyed by locals".

"The violence and suffering calls not just for accountability but also for self-reflection by the United Nations, and the question: Could we have prevented this?" she 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 global community's efforts to bring long-lasting peace, stability and democratization to Myanmar.

The refugees are fleeing a military operation in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages.