Published: Sat, February 24, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Myanmar bulldozes what was left of Rohingya Muslim villages

Myanmar bulldozes what was left of Rohingya Muslim villages

Buddhist-majority Myanmar denies accusations of human rights abuses and says its military has fought a legitimate campaign against "terrorists" it has blamed for the attacks on the security forces.

The report stated that over 534,000 Rohingya children are living in refugee camps in Bangladesh, while almost 185,000 Rohingya children remain in Myanmar's Rakhine state, subjected to ongoing violence, Anadolu Agency reported.

Human-rights groups say authorities are eliminating crucial evidence of the mass atrocities carried out against the ethnic Rohingya minority.

Aerial photographs of leveled villages in northern Rakhine State were first made public February 9 when the European Union's ambassador to Myanmar, Kristian Schmidt, posted images taken from an aircraft of what he described as a "vast bulldozed area" south of the town of Maungdaw.

Media captionWho is burning down Rohingya villages? Although numerous villages were among the 362 villages that were partially or completely destroyed by security force attacks, at least two of the villages were completely intact before the bulldozing.

"Some 720,000 Rohingya children are essentially trapped - either hemmed in by violence and forced displacement inside Myanmar or stranded in overcrowded camps in Bangladesh because they can't return home", said Manuel Fontaine, Unicef Director of Emergency Programmes. Many of those living in camps in Bangladesh have said they need guarantees of their safety.

A government list in December indicated 787 houses would be built, most for Buddhists or Hindus.

Myint Khine said the government had no ulterior motive.

Mr Khine said: "Of course we have been using machines like earth removers and bulldozers because we have to clear the ground first before building new houses".

He said governments donating to the cause should be careful not to help "efforts to pretend the Rohingya do not have the right to return to their villages".

"How will they identify where they lived, if nothing is left, if nothing can be recognised?"

"We visited the Rohingya with the Myanmar delegation and requested them to go back to their homes".

"Everything is wiped away, and this is very concerning, because these are crime scenes". "There's been no credible investigation of these crimes".

"Deliberately demolishing villages to destroy evidence of grave crimes is obstruction of justice", said Adams.

"We will repatriate [the refugees] immediately after we complete verification", he said, adding that Myanmar was ready to accept as many as 300 refugees a day on both land and river routes once verification is completed.

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