The Sri Lankan government has been urged to press the Burmese government to put an immediate stop to the abuses against the Rohingya Muslims in Arakan State.
Human Rights Watch said that the Sri Lankan authorities have witnessed the results of the crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing that are being perpetrated in Arakan state, since the navy had in February rescued Rohingya Muslims on boats that were pushed back out to sea by Thailand.
Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today said that the Burmese authorities and members of Arakanese groups have committed crimes against humanity in a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims in Arakan State since June 2012,
The 153-page report, “‘All You Can Do is Pray’: Crimes Against Humanity and Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Burma’s Arakan State,” describes the role of the Burmese government and local authorities in the forcible displacement of more than 125,000 Rohingya and other Muslims and the ongoing humanitarian crisis.
The report said that Burmese officials, community leaders, and Buddhist monks organized and encouraged ethnic Arakanese backed by state security forces to conduct coordinated attacks on Muslim neighborhoods and villages in October 2012 to terrorize and forcibly relocate the population. The tens of thousands of displaced have been denied access to humanitarian aid and been unable to return home.
“The Burmese government engaged in a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya that continues today through the denial of aid and restrictions on movement,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The government needs to put an immediate stop to the abuses and hold the perpetrators accountable or it will be responsible for further violence against ethnic and religious minorities in the country.”
In February this year 32 Myanmar nationals were rescued by the Sri Lanka navy while being stranded at sea. They had later revealed that nearly 100 others were also with them and had gone missing.
The navy rescued the 32 people when their damaged wooden vessel had began to sink in the deep seas.
“The Sri Lankan authorities have witnessed the results of the crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing that are being perpetrated in Arakan state, since they have rescued Rohingya on boats that were pushed back out to sea by Thailand. Sri Lanka should press the Burmese government to put an immediate stop to the abuses against the Rohingya and hold the perpetrators accountable.” Robertson said.
Human Rights Watch uncovered evidence of four mass-grave sites in Arakan State – three dating from the immediate aftermath of the June violence and one from the October violence. Security forces actively impeded accountability and justice by digging mass graves to destroy evidence of crimes, Human Rights Watch said. (Colombo Gazette)
Report by Easwaran Rutnam