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Myanmar is razing Rohingya homes and building security bases, says Amnesty International

12 March 2018

Almost 700,000 Rohingya Muslims, a minority ethnic group on Buddhist majority Myanmar, fled the clampdown launched in August in response to attacks by suspected Muslim insurgents on a number of security posts in Myanmar's northern Rakhine state. "As this region is behind in development, we are rebuilding systematically". "By January 2018, the area had been cleared and all remaining structures and vegetation removed".

Reuters reported last October that Burmese officials were planning to sell thousands of acres left behind by Rohingya and would resettle returnees in "model villages" rather than their original homes.

The evidence shows that the Myanmar authorities are building over the top of the very places the Rohingya need to return to, Tirana Hassan, Amnesty's crisis response director, said, as cited by AFP.

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

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A quarter of the proposed US$950 million funding for the remainder of the year will go to Bangladeshis living in Cox's Bazar, whose lives have been upended by the massive refugee influx.

Many in the worldwide community have condemned the violence, suggesting it could constitute ethnic cleansing or even genocide.

"The military is not only building security force bases and roads but also bulldozing everything including house, trees, landmarks and even graveyards", said Mohammad Ali, a Rohingya resident of Buthidaung town in northern Rakhine.

Almost 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have crossed the border since last August, clearing forests and camping on hillsides already crowded with more than 300,000 refugees from previous waves of migration.

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Myanmar and Bangladesh reached a deal in November to repatriate those who fled. "No one wants to stay because they are afraid of more violence against them".

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. Almost 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled northern Rakhine state to Bangladesh since Myanmar launched a crackdown on insurgents six months ago.

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

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Myanmar is razing Rohingya homes and building security bases, says Amnesty International