Rohingya villages ‘burnt to the ground by Myanmar security forces’
Amnesty International said it had seen video footage of large plumes of smoke rising from villages in Rakhine State
Villages in Rakhine State have been burnt to the ground by Myanmar’s security forces, despite assurances by de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi that military “clearance operations” had ended earlier this month.
Human Rights’ charity Amnesty International has assessed three videos taken on Friday, which showed smoke rising from villages inhabited by Myanmar’s Muslim minority.
Additionally, satellite imagery examined showed a village that had been set ablaze with burnt-out structures.
The charity spoke with local sources, who claimed that the fires had been started by security forces and vigilante groups.
Speaking during a televised address to diplomats on Tuesday, Aung San Suu Kyi that there had been “no armed clashes and no clearance operations” since September 5.
The video footage and satellite imagery proved that this was not the case, according to Amnesty’s Crisis Response Director, Tirana Hassan.
“This damning evidence from the ground and from space flies in the face of Aung San Suu Kyi’s assertions to the world that what she called military ‘clearance operations’ in Rakhine State ended on 5 September,” Ms Hassan said.
“Almost three weeks later, we can see in real time how there is no let-up in the campaign of violence against Rohingya in northern Rakhine State.
“Rohingya homes and villages continue to burn, before, during and after their inhabitants take flight in terror. Not satisfied with simply forcing Rohingya from their homes, authorities seem intent on ensuring they have no homes to return to.
“The time has come and gone for giving Myanmar’s military and political leadership the benefit of the doubt. The international community must be unequivocal in its condemnation and take effective action to halt this ethnic cleansing campaign as well as bring the perpetrators to account.”
More than 410,000 Rohingya have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh since August when attacks by Rohingya Muslim insurgents sparked a military response.
Updated: September 23, 2017 03:51 AM