Myanmar 'militarizing' razed Rohingya villages in Rakhine - Amnesty

Myanmar 'militarizing' razed Rohingya villages in Rakhine - Amnesty

A top United Nations rights expert warned on Monday that the crackdown on Myanmar's Rohingya minority bears "the hallmarks of genocide" and insisted the government should be held accountable.

An global rights group has charged that the Myanmar army is building bases on the site of torched villages once occupied by Rohingya Muslims who fled northern Rakhine state past year during a brutal crackdown by security forces, a claim rebutted by a Myanmar lawmaker. Amnesty believes they are part of a new base for security forces. "There are only police posts for regional security and law enforcement reasons". They are building centers to house same security forces that have committed crimes against humanity against Rohingya, "says Hassan of AI".

Myanmar is allegedly building military bases on the top of razed Rohingya villages, where the Rohingyas once lived before their persecution by the country's security forces in August past year.

A man walks past the entrance of a camp set up by Myanmar's Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Minister to prepare for the repatriation of displaced Rohingyas, who fled to Bangladesh, outside Maungdaw in the state of Rakhine, Myanmar January 24, 2018.

In a report published last December, the humanitarian group said the deaths of 71.7 percent or 6,700 Rohingya were caused by violence.

Nearly six months after launching the military operation, Myanmar's military has admitted to only killing 10 captured Rohingya men, who, it claims, were "terrorists".

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Amnesty's analysis of new satellite imagery appears to prove that at least three new security bases have been built in Rakhine since January, while more were found to be under construction, The Telegraph reported.

While Myanmar's government hasn't officially commented on the latest report, Amnesty cited a statement from officials, according to which the villages are being bulldozed to accommodate returning refugees.

Amnesty International says its images show the reception centres, which have been built to house returning Rohingya, are surrounded by security fences and close to areas with a heavy military presence.

"Not only are their homes gone, but the new construction is entrenching the already dehumanizing discrimination they have faced in Myanmar", Hassan added.

The report follows previous accounts by Amnesty and other rights groups who have documented the demolition of Rohingya villages at the epicenter of recent violence, prompting concerns that evidence of human rights abuses are being concealed before they can be properly documented.

"It was used to convey public messages but we know that the ultra-nationalist Buddhists have their own Facebooks and are really inciting a lot of violence and a lot of hatred against the Rohingya or other ethnic minorities", she said. Meanwhile, Myanmar and Bangladesh have signed a repatriation deal, though it has not begun yet.

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