If there wasn't already enough proof of Myanmar's atrocities against Rohingya Muslims, newly released satellite images show the extent of devastation of their villages in Rakhine.
Since Aug. 25, 2017, at least 300 villages were partially or totally destroyed by fire in the northern state, according to satellite imagery released by Human Rights Watch. Tens of thousands of structures, mainly homes of Rohingya Muslims, have been partially or completely destroyed.
The international organization monitored a total of 866 villages in Maungdaw, Rathedaung, and Buthidaung townships in Rakhine State.
The images come amid reports of how the Burmese military has burned down entire villages inhabited by the besieged ethnic community as part of a so-called and indiscriminate crackdown in response to alleged attacks by Rohingya militants on law-enforcement officials.
“These latest satellite images show why over half a million Rohingya fled to Bangladesh in just four weeks,” said Phil Robertson, HRW deputy Asia director. “The Burmese military destroyed hundreds of Rohingya villages while committing killings, rapes, and other crimes against humanity that forced Rohingya to flee for their lives.”
However, it's not just villages the Burmese military is torching in Rakhine, where nearly all the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, nearly 1.1 million, live — or used to live before the crackdown.
Fleeing refugees have accused the Burmese military of burning people, including children, alive.
Just last week, a young Rohingya woman, Rajuma, told The New York Times how a group of soldiers in Myanmar "threw her baby into a fire," before gang-raping her.
While the Burmese government has repeatedly refuted claims of atrocities against Rohingya Muslims, evidence, including the recently released HRW satellite images, against their claims is continuously piling up.
“The shocking images of destruction in Burma and burgeoning refugee camps in Bangladesh are two sides of the same coin of human misery being inflicted on the Rohingya,” Robertson added. “Concerned governments need to urgently press for an end to abuses against the Rohingya and ensure that humanitarian aid reaches everyone in need.”
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