The Myanmar military’s “campaign of violence” against Rohingya people constitutes crimes against humanity [AI report], according to an Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] report on Monday. According to AI, the Myanmar military is responsible for unlawful killings, multiple rapes, and burning down houses as well as entire villages. In October the Myanmar security forces reportedly launched a large-scale operation in northern Rakhine State in response to an attack on border police causing nine deaths. Since then, AI claims the actions of the security forces have gone beyond justified protection measures. Over the last two months many Rohingyas have allegedly been unlawfully arrested and detained; some have died while in custody and many were beaten viciously during the arrest. According to Rafendi Djamin, AI Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific:
The Myanmar military has targeted Rohingya civilians in a callous and systematic campaign of violence. Men, women, children, whole families and entire villages have been attacked and abused, as a form of collective punishment. The deplorable actions of the military could be part of a widespread and systematic attack on a civilian population and may amount to crimes against humanity. We are worried that the horrific tales of violations we have uncovered are just the tip of the iceberg.
To escape the persecution thousands of Rohingya have reportedly left to Bangladesh over the last two months. However, in response, Bangladesh has re-enforced its long-standing policy of sealing the border to Myanmar detaining and rejecting those who have tried to cross the border.
Human rights violations have been on the forefront of Myanmar’s new democratic government since ending a decades-old military rule. In June a UN expert presented [JURIST report] a report on religious, free market, political, and nationalist or cultural fundamentalism, stating that fundamentalist intolerance is growing throughout the globe and is directly contributing to infringements of the rights to association and peaceful assembly. In April UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed [JURIST report] shock at the increasing number of children recruited and killed in armed conflicts in several countries. The government of Myanmar alone released [JURIST report] 46 underage child recruits from the military in March as part of a UN join action plan made in 2012. In May Human Rights Watch urged [JURIST report] the Myanmar Parliament to reconsider a proposed law that they say has the advocacy organization says has the potential to limit free expression and peaceful assembly. Also in May US Secretary of State John Kerry offered support to Myanmar’s newly democratic government and urged [JURIST report] the country to push more democratic reform and address human rights issues.