The human rights watchdog group Amnesty International accused Myanmar’s military of committing “war crimes” such as extrajudicial killings and torture of ethnic minorities in Rakhine state, including the Rohingya.
Amnesty claims “has new evidence” that the Myanmar military is still “committing war crimes and other human rights violations on Rakhine.”
In a recent report entitled “No One Can Protect Us: War Crimes and Abuses in Myanmar’s Rakhine State”, Amnesty International called the Myanmar military deploying thousands of heavy artillery troops to Rakhine in recent months.
The troops were deployed following an attack by the Arakan Army (AA) rebels on security posts in the region on January 4.
Since then, Amnesty International has documented at least seven unlawful military operations that killed 14 civilians in Rakhine and injured dozens more.
“In one incident at the end of January, a seven-year-old ethnic Rakhine boy died after a mortar which was strongly indicated by the Myanmar military exploded in the village of Tha Mee Hla, Rathedaung Township, during a battle between the military and AA,” read the Amnesty International report obtained by CNNINdonesia.com.
The organization also revealed that in mid-March, a Myanmar military mortar exploded in the village of Ywar Haung Taw, Municipality, Mrauk-U.
The incident injured at least four people and destroyed a house belonging to Hla Shwe Maung, a 37-year-old Rakhine man.
Amnesty International underlies the findings from 81 interviews, including 54 direct interviews with residents in Rakhine around the end of last March. In addition, the organization also conducted 27 long-distance interviews with a number of residents living in conflict-affected areas.
“They are from the Rakhine, Mro, Rohingya and Khami ethnic groups, who are Buddhists, Christians and Muslims. Amnesty International also analyzes photos, videos and satellite imagery, and interviews humanitarian workers, human rights activists, and other experts, “read the Amnesty report.
This latest report highlights the Myanmar military which has long been suspected of systematically committing human rights violations against ethnic minorities in Rakhine, especially the Rohingya.
Myanmar’s military is also considered the most responsible for the humanitarian crisis at Rakhine in 2017.
Military operations in Rakhine around August 2017 triggered a wave of Rohingya refugees fled to neighboring Bangladesh. Until now, at least more than 700 thousand Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh.
“The latest operation in Rakhine shows that the armed forces (Myanmar) have not changed, are not converted, have not been reformed, and are not responsible for terrorizing civilians,” Amnesty International’s Southeast Asia Regional Director Nicholas Bequelin said in the report.