Dhaka –Amnesty International has said Myanmar may be guilty of crimes against humanity for brutal campaign against Rohingya Muslim minority in its northern Rakhine state.
The rights watchdog in a report published on Monday said the Myanmar military has targeted Rohingya civilians in a callous and systematic campaign of violence.
Tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar army launched counterinsurgency sweeps in the neighbouring country in October. Many of the religious minority group are still languishing on the border as Bangladesh official kept its frontier sealed.
“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,” Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s director for South-east Asia and the Pacific, said in a statement.
Attacks on security forces in northern Rakhine state in October prompted a sweeping crackdown on the persecuted population and the army is accused of killing and raping civilians as well as burning down their homes.
State Counsellor and Myanmar’s Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi was hosting informal talks with ASEAN foreign ministers in the commercial capital of Yangon to discuss the crisis.
The rights group documented victims of the persecution in Myanmar. A 32-year-old Rohingya woman named Fatima told the group three soldiers raped her in a paddy field.
“I don’t remember what happened next because I fell unconscious,”she said. “I woke up early the next morning. I could not get up so I crawled across the paddy field.”
Myanmar denies the allegations, defending the military’s actions as “clearance operations” to root out Rohingya militants.
Bangladesh has long been asking Myanmar to take back more than 30,000 Rohingya documented as refugee in two squalid camps in Cox’s Bazar district. An estimate said the number of undocumented Rohingya Muslims in Bangladesh is between 300,000 and 500,000.
Fresh influx of Rohingya Muslims began after the recent spate of violence in the neighbouring country.