HRW urges UN-assisted probe into Myanmar abuses against Muslims

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NEW YORK, Oct 31 (APP): A prominent human rights watchdog body Monday  released satellite imagery showing at least three burnt villages in Myanmar’s restive Rakhine State, home to the persecuted Rohingya
Muslims, and urged the government to seek United Nations’ help in investigating the destruction.

“New satellite images reveal destruction in Rakhine State that demands
an impartial and independent investigation, something the Burmese
(Myanmar) government has yet to show it’s capable of doing,” Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

“The government should end its blanket denial of wrongdoing, and
blocking of aid agencies, and stop making excuses for keeping
international monitors from the area.”

The high-resolution imagery of the burnt villages was recorded on
October 22 and, and Human Rights Watch called on the Myanmarese
government to urgently allow the United Nations to assist in investigating the destruction in the area.

“UN-assisted investigation needs to examine the deadly attacks on
border guard posts on October 9, and allegations that government security forces subsequently committed summary killings, sexual violence, arson,  and other rights abuses against ethnic Rohingya villagers in Rakhine  State’s Maungdaw district,” Human Rights Watch said.

“These satellite images of village destruction could be the tip of
the iceberg given the grave abuses being reported,” Robertson said.
Myanmar’s military does not allow rights organizations and
journalists to visit the remote region of Rakhine, which borders
Bangladesh.

A government-sponsored delegation of UN aid agencies and foreign
diplomats was expected to visit the region on Monday, marking the first
time international aid agencies would be allowed into the area since
October 9.

Northern Rakhine has been under a military lockdown since an
alleged attack on the country’s border guards three weeks ago left nine police officers dead.

The government has accused Rohingyas of waging the armed assault,
and an army search for the perpetrators has led to the killing of over
30 people and the arrest of dozens more, according to official reports.
Rights groups have reported numerous human rights abuses against
Rohingya following the attack, including extrajudicial killings, rape, torture, arbitrary arrests, and burning of homes.

The Rakhine region, where Rohingya Muslims form the majority
population, has been the scene of communal violence at the hands of
Buddhist extremists since 2012.

Hundreds of people have been killed and tens of thousands more have
been forced to flee their homes and live in squalid camps in dire
conditions within Myanmar and other countries, including Thailand,
Malaysia and Indonesia.

According to the UN, Rohingyas are one of the most persecuted
minorities cross the globe.

The government denies full citizenship to the Rohingya population,
branding them illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, even as many trace
their lineage in Myanmar back generations.