Middle East

Thirteen officials accused of Rohingya atrocities named


Human rights groups have called for senior Myanmar military chiefs to be prosecuted for crimes against humanity after an Amnesty International investigation into the treatment of Rohingya minorities in northern Rakhine State.

Amnesty International has named 13 officials, including the general commanding forces, in its report and accuses them of playing a key role in the murder, rape and deportation of Rohingya.

The culmination of nine months of research, the human rights group says, is the most comprehensive account to date of how the Myanmar military forced more than seven hundred thousand Rohingya flee to Bangladesh after  August 25 last year.

According to Amnesty's senior crisis advisor Matthew Wells, there was an orchestrated campaign by the military to drive out eighty per cent of northern Rakhine State's Rohingya population.

"The report shows the sheer volume of abuses by the Myanmar military meted out against the Rohingya. It shows for example that they brought Rohingya men and boys to detention sites where they tortured them and carried out other forms of ill-treatment," he said.

"It shows that in several villages they massacred men, women and children and in villages across northern Rakhine state Myanmar security forces raped and committed other sexual violence against Rohingya women and girls."

Based on more than 400 interviews, satellite imagery, photographic evidence and forensic analysis, the report identifies nine distinct types of crimes against humanity.

It names 13 officials - including Myanmar's military Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlang - as holding ultimate responsibility.

With Amnesty shut out by authorities of conducting human rights inspections in Myanmar, Mr Wells says the organisation employed a range of other methods to verify atrocities.

"We scoured through Facebook, we did investigations of Facebook postings by soldiers and by others in Myanmar that indicated when specific units arrived in particular villages and particular areas of these townships," he said.

"When we brought it all together it provided a consistent picture in many of the villages of which specific unit had been there and had carried out what was often a massacre, rape and other sexual violence across areas of northern Rakhine state."

Amnesty claims it has new details about Myanmar's military command structure and troop deployments, as well as security force arrests, enforced disappearances and torture.

Mr Wells has called on the United Nations to refer the evidence to the International Criminal Court so that it can be investigated and those responsible prosecuted.

"The UN Security Council should also impose a complete arms embargo on Myanmar as well as targeted financial sanctions in senior military officials who are implicated in the serious human rights violations that have been committed, " he said

"Countries around the world need to stop technical assistance to the Myanmar military to send a strong message that when crimes like these have been committed the Myanmar military will not continue to benefit from the assistance of the international community."

Myanmar has rejected allegations of systematic atrocities against the Rohingya, telling the UN security council last year there was no ethnic cleansing or genocide carried out in the country.


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