Evidence of Myanmar's ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya minority continues to mount as Amnesty International revealed the Burmese military is now conducting a "land grab" of areas where the besieged community used to live.
In a new report, the international 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 infrastructure mainly includes security bases. At least three new such facilities are reportedly under construction. In fact, to make way for the largest of the three bases, Rohingya villagers were forcibly evicted, Amnesty found.
In one instance, the group found, a new border police post was recently built near what used to be a mosque.
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.
Since August 2017, the Buddhist-majority nation has reportedly driven nearly 700,000 members of the besieged community into neighboring Bangladesh, as part of a wildly indiscriminate military crackdown the international community has called ethnic cleansing.
Myanmar's security forces have, as per independent reports and investigations, tortured, killed and raped scores of Rohingya people and burned down whole villages in the name of fighting alleged Rohingya insurgents. The exact death toll cannot be confirmed since Myanmar's government restricts obstructs reporters from covering the ongoing crisis in Rakhine State.
Myanmar has denied all accusations and reports alleging the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya.
Almost six months after launching the military operation, Myanmar's military has admitted to only killing 10 captured Rohingya men, who, it claims, were "terrorists."
“What we are seeing in Rakhine State is a land grab by the military on a dramatic scale,” Tirana Hassan, Amnesty’s crisis response director, said in a statement, adding how the new construction makes the much-debated return of Rohingya refugees even more impossible.
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.
However, that does not appear to be the case as Amnesty claims the new construction, as stated above, seems to be designed for the military as well as non-Rohingya villagers.
"Not only are their homes gone, but the new construction is entrenching the already dehumanizing discrimination they have faced in Myanmar," Hassan added.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun