'Rohingya fleeing Myanmar in boats part of genocide'

| 21.12,18. 05:56 PM |

'Rohingya fleeing Myanmar in boats part of genocide'

A London-based rights group on Thursday said that Rohingya fleeing Myanmar’s Rakhine State in boats were a living example of the ongoing genocide by the state.

“The Rohingya who are fleeing from Rakhine State are mostly leaving IDP (Internally Displaced Person) camps in [Rakhine State’s capital] Sittwe, where they have been stuck in squalid conditions with no hope of resettlement since 2012,” said the Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN) in a statement.

“The Rohingya fleeing are doing so due to conditions implemented and maintained by the Burmese government and security forces.

"In creating these conditions they have made life unbearable for the Rohingya, forcing them to seek ways to leave the country as part of a broader campaign of genocide against the Rohingya,” said Kyaw Win, executive director of the group, using another name for Myanmar.

Shedding light on an incident in late November, the statement said Myanmar authorities intercepted a boat with 93 Rohingya aboard who were trying to reach Malaysia.

“Those Rohingya who were stopped by the Burmese authorities were returned to their IDP camps in Sittwe after being detained and then forced to accept National Verification Cards which do not allow them to self identify their ethnicity but instead refer to Rohingya as Bangladeshis,” it said, referring to three boats intercepted by the Myanmar authorities.

A fresh exodus of Rohingya are fleeing Myanmar over the past month making dangerous voyages in small boats to Thailand and Malaysia aided by human smugglers.

To pay human smugglers, Rohingya often sell all of their belongings -- including ration cards, the rights group said, adding that returning them to the camps is putting them in a worse situation than before.

“Clearly the Burmese authorities do not want the Rohingya in Burma, and returning those who fled to a worse hell seems to be an intentional effort to make them suffer even more,” Kyaw Win was quoted.

The agency called on the international community to take action before the issue gets worse.

“The Burmese Government must be held accountable for the conditions they have created in Sittwe and the actions they took to expel nearly 800,000 Rohingya in 2017,” it said.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August last year.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience."

Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.

The UN has also documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces.

In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.


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