Next Step In Rohingya Ethnic Cleansing: Military Land Grab


In a new report, the worldwide human rights group claims, with the help of satellite images and witness accounts, Myanmar's military has been bulldozing the remains of torched villages to make way for new infrastructure in the Rakhine state, where the majority of the estimated 1 million Rohingya in Myanmar used to reside.

The new Amnesty report, "Remaking Rakhine State", uses satellite imagery and interviews to point to a rapid increase in military infrastructure and other construction since the start of the year that researchers say amounts to a "land grab".

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

The rights body warned that militarization in Myanmar's Rakhine State was continuing at an "alarming pace". "New bases are being erected to house the very same security forces that have committed crimes against humanity against Rohingya", said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International's Crisis Response Director.

Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed in November to begin repatriating Rohingya who volunteered to return to Rakhine state where the persecuted Muslim minority have lived for generations.But the process has stalled and it is not clear when it will begin, said Bangladesh's refugee commissioner Mohammad Abul Kalam. "Not only are their homes gone, but the new construction is entrenching the already dehumanizing discrimination they have faced in Myanmar".

It claims the largest is in the village of Ah Lel Chaung in Buthidaung Township, where eyewitnesses said the military forcibly evicted Rohingya from certain areas to make way for construction.

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Monday's findings follow a report published by Human Right Watch last month, which found that the military was bulldozing Rohingya villages that were either burnt down or abandoned last summer. Even surrounding trees and other vegetation have been removed, rendering much of the landscape unrecognisable.

UNITED Nations officials said today almost US$1 billion (RM4 billion) is needed this year to feed and care for the roughly one million Rohingya refugees living in overcrowded camps in southeastern Bangladesh.

Amnesty's analysis of new satellite imagery appears to prove that at least three new security bases have been built in Rakhine since January.

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.

According to Doctors without Borders (MSF), some 6,700 Rohingya have died during the military retaliation campaigns.

"Rakhine State is one of the poorest parts of Myanmar and investment in development is sorely needed".