After wiping out Rohingya villages, Myanmar govt builds helipads on razed land

After wiping out Rohingya villages, Myanmar govt builds helipads on razed land

Almost 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to neighboring Bangladesh since fighting broke out between Rohingya militants and Myanmar's security forces last August.

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

The UN suspects there are acts of genocide and demanded Myanmar atrocities are referred to the International Court.

An worldwide rights group has charged that the Myanmar army is building bases on the site of torched villages once occupied by Rohingya Muslims who fled northern Rakhine state previous year during a brutal crackdown by security forces, a claim rebutted by a Myanmar lawmaker.

"What we are seeing in Rakhine is an occupation of land by military on a dramatic scale".

The report comes on the heels of a similar investigation published by Human Rights Watch in February, in which the organization alleged Myanmar's forces were demolishing Rohingya villages in order to erase any proof of human rights abuses that may have been committed in Rakhine.

Myanmar and Bangladesh were supposed to start repatriating Rohingya refugees in late January but many are reluctant to return to a place without guarantees of basic rights and safety.

"Not only are their homes gone, but the new construction is entrenching the already dehumanizing discrimination they have faced in Myanmar", Hassan added.

The refugees are fleeing a military operation in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages.

Lee said the crimes committed by Myanmar authorities especially in the wake of October 2016 and August 25, 2017 - when a military crackdown began - "bear the hallmarks of genocide and call in the strongest terms for accountability".

In Rakhine state, Myanmar appeared to be pursuing a policy of forced starvation to make life unsustainable for the Rohingya, Lee said.

In Kan Kya village, for example - burned down between August and November past year - homes and at least two mosques were demolished to make way for a new security force base.

In a speech in front of UN Human Rights Council, Zeid said Rohingya are still fleeing Myanmar because "systematic" violence, albeit less intense, persists.

Satellite imagery of one village called Kan Kya on the outskirts of Rakhine's Maungdaw town taken two months after the August attacks shows a settlement scarred by fire.

Amnesty's analysis of new satellite imagery appears to prove that at least three new security bases have been built in Rakhine since January, while more were found to be under construction, The Telegraph reported. She called for the council to set up an entity in Bangladesh, where about 700,000 Rohingya have fled in the past six months, to collect evidence for potential trials.

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