Myanmar builds military bases where Rohingya homes and mosques stood: Amnesty


Lakhs of Rohingya Muslims have fled from Rakhine state to neighbouring Bangladesh since August 2017, when security forces began a violent crackdown against the community.

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.

Almost 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled northern Rakhine state to Bangladesh since Myanmar launched a brutal crackdown on insurgents six months ago that the USA and United Nations have called ethnic cleansing.

The report comes on the heels of a similar investigation published by Human Rights Watch in February, in which the organization alleged Myanmar's forces were demolishing Rohingya villages in order to erase any proof of human rights abuses that may have been committed in Rakhine.

Amnesty International's latest research reveals how whole villages of burned Rohingya houses have been bulldosed since January.

(COMBO) This handout image of a satellite photograph released by Amnesty International and DigitalGlobe on March 12, 2018 shows new structures and fencing built over the previously burnt village of Kan Kya in Myanmar's Rakhine State. Amnesty has accused Burma of crimes against humanity. "Not only are their homes gone, but the new construction is entrenching the already dehumanizing discrimination they have faced in Myanmar". The landscape has become "virtually unrecognisable" in many areas, the report said.

"The bulldosing of entire villages is incredibly worrying".

"Burma's authorities are erasing evidence of crimes against humanity, making any future attempts to hold those responsible to account extremely hard". "There are only police posts for regional security and law enforcement reasons".

As well as rapid housing and road construction in the area, at least three new security facilities were under construction, the global human rights group said.

The military's scorched-earth campaign was widely denounced internationally and likened by several rights groups to an "ethnic cleansing campaign". In one case, Rohingya villagers who had remained in Myanmar were forcibly evicted to make way for a base, it said.

Eyewitnesses also told Amnesty International how non-Rohingya people were living in new villages that have been built on burned Rohingya homes and farmland over the past months.

"Myanmar's authorities are erasing evidence of crimes against humanity, making any future attempts to hold those responsible to account extremely hard (.) New roads and structures are being built over burned Rohingya villages and land, making it even less likely for refugees to return to their homes", Tirana said.