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Myanmar's deliberate strategy to prevent Rohingya return

Brutality

Crops, villages destroyed, rocket launcher used to set houses on fire: indiscriminate firing, people burned to death inside houses, girls just 5-7 seven years raped: Armed Rakhine Buddhists joined in destruction

By Special Correspondent
12th-Oct-2017       
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Myanmar security forces have carried out "well organised, coordinated and systematic" attacks on Rohingyas in a deliberate strategy to driving out them from their lands and preventing from returning, the UN Human Rights office said in a report on Wednesday.
More than half a million Rohingya Muslims have been driven out of northern Rakhine State, and their homes torched and crops and villages destroyed, the UN office said.
The report, based on interviews with Rohingyas who arrived in Bangladesh in the past month, said that "clearance operations" had begun before reported armed attacks on police posts on August 25 and had included killings, torture and rape of children.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein - who has described the government operations as "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing" - said in a statement that the actions appeared to be "a cynical ploy to forcibly transfer large numbers of people without possibility of return".
 "Credible information indicates that the Myanmar security forces purposely destroyed the property of the Rohingyas and scorched their dwellings and entire villages in northern Rakhine State, not only to drive the population out in droves but also to prevent the fleeing Rohingya victims from returning to their homes," the latest report by his Geneva office said.
The destruction by security forces, often joined by "mobs" of armed Rakhine Buddhists, of houses, fields, food stocks, crops, and livestock make the possibility of Rohingya returning to normal lives in northern Rakhine "almost impossible".
Myanmar security forces are believed to have planted landmines along the border in an attempt to prevent Rohingya from returning, it said, adding: "There are indications that violence still continues.
A team of U.N. human rights officials, who went to Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, from September 14-24, met victims and eyewitnesses and corroborated their accounts.
They documented Myanmar security forces "firing indiscriminately into Rohingya villagers, injuring and killing other innocent victims, setting houses on fire", the report said.
 "Almost all testimonies indicated that people were shot at from close range and in the back when they tried to flee in panic," it said. "Witness accounts attest to Rohingya victims, including children and elderly people, burned to death inside their houses."
Several interviewees indicated that a "launcher", most probably a rocket propelled grenade launcher, was used to set houses on fire, the report added.
Girls of just five to seven years old had been raped, often in front of relatives, and sometimes by several men "all dressed in army uniforms", it said.
Rohingya men under 40 were arrested up to a month before August 25 without charge, creating a "climate of intimidation and fear".
The mainly Muslim minority, who live primarily in Rakhine State, are not recognised as an ethnic group in Myanmar, despite having lived there for generations. They have been denied citizenship and are stateless.

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