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Myanmar accused of ‘ethnic cleansing’ by HRW


Myanmar authorities and members of various Rakhine Buddhist groups are accused by US-based Human Rights Watch of committing crimes against humanity in a campaign of “ethnic cleansing” against Rohingya Muslims.

A group of Rakhine men and youths with weapons approach a Muslim village which is already in flames. Sittwe Township, June 2012. PHOTO: HRW
A group of Rakhine men and youths with weapons approach a Muslim village which is already in flames. Sittwe Township, June 2012. PHOTO: HRW
A a 153-page report released on Monday, April 22, titled ‘All You Can Do is Pray: Crimes Against Humanity and Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Burma’s Arakan State,’ the international rights watchdog accuses the Myanmar government and local authorities of forcibly displacing more than 125,000 Rohingyas and other Muslims in an ongoing campaign since June 2012.

“Burmese [Myanmar] officials, community leaders, and Buddhist monks organized and encouraged ethnic Arakanese [Rakhine Buddhists] backed by state security forces to conduct coordinated attacks on Muslim neighborhoods and villages in October 2012 to terrorize and forcibly relocate the population. The tens of thousands of displaced have been denied access to humanitarian aid and been unable to return home,” the report said.

Phil Robertson, HRW’s deputy Asia director, said, “The Burmese government engaged in a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya that continues today through the denial of aid and restrictions on movement.

“The government needs to put an immediate stop to the abuses and hold the perpetrators accountable or it will be responsible for further violence against ethnic and religious minorities in the country.”

HRW said in its report that it has evidence of four mass graves in Rakhine State.

The Myanmar government has yet to respond to the damning allegations. However, official figures from Naypyitaw put the number of dead at only 180 and say that many Rakhine Buddhists were among that number.

Related articles:
  1. Rohingya face ongoing humanitarian crisis
  2. Rohingyas ‘barred from Suu Kyi meet’ in Tokyo
  3. Rohingyas not ‘illegal immigrants’ in Myanmar, say Nobel laureates
Last Updated ( Monday, 22 April 2013 15:13 )