Hundreds of Rohingya Muslim houses destroyed in Myanmar
Up to 30,000 people have been displaced by violence which broke out at the start of a military crackdown on the Rohingya minority six weeks ago.
More than 1,000 houses have been destroyed in northwestern Myanmar’s Rakhine state, Human Rights Watch said on Monday, in a report based on the analysis of satellite images.
Members of the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority are being persecuted after troops began cracking down on dissident activity along the Bangladeshi border last month.
Around 820 structures were destroyed in five Rohingya villages between November 10-18, Human Rights Watch said in the report.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, who is the leader of Myanmar’s new administration, has dismissed the claims as misinformation channelled by “terrorists.”
The destroyed houses were identified using satellite imagery technology because the Myanmar government has imposed restrictions on journalists and aid agencies operating in the area.
“Instead of responding with military-era style accusations and denials, the government should simply look at the facts,” said HRW’s Asia director Brad Adams.
Up to 30,000 people have been displaced and dozens killed since the military brought in helicopter gunships into the area, the UN said.
The resurgence of violence in western Rakhine state has deepened a crisis that already poses a great challenge to Suu Kyi’s administration.
More than 100 people died in 2012 in clashes between Myanmar’s majority Buddhist population and Rohingya, as tens of thousands of members of the minority were driven into displacement camps.
— Yanghee Lee (@YangheeLeeSKKU) November 18, 2016
On Friday, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, criticised the government’s way of handling the crisis and called for “urgent action” to protect civilians.
“The security forces must not be given a carte blanche to step up their operations,” she said in a statement.