Myanmar Armed Forces Burn Villages, Fire On Fleeing Civilians

Graphic eyewitness footage has emerged of Rohingya Muslims allegedly killed while fleeing state violence in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state.

A series of videos show villages being burned as well as bodies of dead children and old women, allegedly killed by Myanmar armed forces.

“Everything has been burned to ashes by now,” one eyewitness told Human Rights Watch (HRW), adding that security forces had shot civilians as they ran away.

HRW reports that widespread arson attacks in Rakhine appear to resemble the scale of previous state violence campaigns in 2012 and 2016.

In one extremely graphic YouTube video, 12 young children and four elderly ladies, all dead, are laid out on the ground. According to the cameraman, they were all allegedly killed after a government gunboat attacked their vessel as it was crossing a river.

Myanmar state media denies the allegations of army atrocities, reporting that civilians had been advised to flee a spate of arson attacks across the state.

In another series of videos, a number of bloated burnt out corpses are shown as they lie mutilated on the ground.

February report by the UN’s human rights agency found evidence of frequent human rights atrocities by the Myanmar armed forces, including extrajudicial executions, gang rape, torture and “inhuman” punishment.

The report concludes that religious discrimination and persecution is “endemic” throughout the state.

“The Burmese government has repeatedly shown that it has neither the interest nor the skill to credibly and impartially investigate abuses in Rakhine State,” said Phil Robertson, deputy director of HRW’s Asia division.

Thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar since the country’s military sent hundreds of new troops to Rakhine state earlier this month.

Rangoon has restricted aid workers and UN investigators from gaining access to the state and enforced a media blackout, in order to limit exposure of the army’s actions.

Most Rohingya are denied citizenship and other rights the country’s Buddhist majority enjoy, living in abject poverty with little access to aid.

A recent report, submitted to the UN, found that the Muslim population in Rakhine constituted the “single biggest stateless community in the world”.

“Some ten percent of the world’s stateless people live in Myanmar,” the report said.

Read the OHCHR’s Report On Myanmar’s violence against the Rohingya below:

Download the PDF file .

Top photo: Myanmar’s Rohingya ethnic minority members flee their homes through rice fields after crossing over to the Bangladesh side of the border near Cox’s Bazar’s Teknaf area, Sept. 1, 2017. (AP/Bernat Armangue)


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