Myanmar has bulldozed at least 55 villages that were emptied of their Rohingya Muslim inhabitants during violence that began past year, Human Rights Watch said on Friday citing a review of new satellite imagery.
The Globe and Mail reported that after flying over Rakhine state in a helicopter, Rae said seeing "many, many burnt-out villages and destroyed villages and villages in which there's no sign of human activity whatsoever is-to put it mildly-sobering and ...deeply chilling". Human Rights Watch could not independently verify if any of the destroyed villages were inhabited when the demolition began.
Almost 690,000 Rohingya have fled Rakhine and taken refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh since the Myanmar military launched a crackdown on insurgents at the end of August, according to the UN.
The satellite images from DigitalGlobe shows at least 28 villages have been flattened by bulldozers and other machinery in a 50 km radius around Maungdaw between December and February.
However, many Rohingya refuse to return for fear the Buddhist majority will launch new attacks.
Last week, the United States urged the UN Security Council to hold Myanmar's military accountable for what it said was the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims. Many have no homes to return to because their villages were burned down.
Adams said Friday the bulldozing operation apparently underway there is tantamount to a cover-up destroying dozens of crime scenes.
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Authorities are "making continuous and unremitting efforts" to support "the socioeconomic development and creation of employment opportunities in Rakhine State" and enable the closure of the region's internally displaced person camps, the government said in a lengthy statement about the construction project posted earlier this week. Myanmar bars independent media access to Rakhine state. The camp opened last month to house returning refugees, but none have.
Chris Lewa, whose Arakan Project monitors the persecuted minority's plight, said the destruction would make it even harder for the Rohingya, who have no citizenship and few rights, to ever reclaim their land. They are viewed by the local authorities as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, although many have been living in the region for decades, if not centuries.
Bangladesh has provided Myanmar with a list of over 8,000 Rohingyas, but no refugees have returned to their homeland yet. Doctors Without Borders estimates that at least 6,700 Rohingya were killed, including 730 children, in the first month of Myanmar forces' crackdown after August 25 past year.
"Everything is wiped away, and this is very concerning, because these are crime scenes". "There's been no credible investigation of these crimes".
"Government and allied forces, including Russian Federation, carried out indiscriminate attacks and direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects using aerial and artillery bombing, including with chemical and other internationally banned weapons, killing and injuring hundreds", Amnesty's report says.
According to a description of the event by its organizers, "The Berlin Conference on Myanmar Genocide aims to inform German civil society and European public about the ongoing genocide of Rohingya people in Myanmar".
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