[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] called Monday for the government of Myanmar to “urgently endorse [HRW report] an independent, international investigation into alleged abuses” against the Rohingya Muslim population, including sexual violence against Rohingya women and girls. According to survivor testimony, the Myanmar army and members of the Border Guard Police “took part in rape, gang rape, invasive body searches, and sexual assaults” in at least nine Rohingya villages between October and December. HRW documented 28 incidences of sexual assault after interviewing survivors and witnesses. HRW states that the attacks are likely part of systematic violence against the Rohingya, based in part on survivors testifying that they were called ethnic and religious slurs as they were attacked. The Myanmar government stated [press release] in a January press release that the reports of rape were fake. Piryanka Motaparthy [official profile], a researcher with HRW, said “The government should stop contesting these rape allegations and instead provide survivors with access to necessary support, health care, and other services.”
Reports of human rights violations in Myanmar have prompted international concern. Last week the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said that Myanmar’s campaign against the Rohingya likely constituted crimes against humanity [JURIST report]. In November a spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern [JURIST report] about possible crimes against humanity committed against the Rohingya Muslim minority. The Myanmar military’s “campaign of violence” against Rohingya people constitutes crimes against humanity [JURIST report], according to an Amnesty International report in December. Last week the Myanmar police arrested [JURIST report] suspects in connection with the murder of a Muslim human rights lawyer.