‘Myan­mar erect­ing se­cu­rity posts on Ro­hingya land’

DNA (Daily News & Analysis) Mumbai Edition - - FRONT PAGE -

Myan­mar is build­ing se­cu­rity in­stal­la­tions on top of razed Ro­hingya vil­lages, Amnesty In­ter­na­tional said Mon­day, cast­ing doubt on plans to repa­tri­ate hun­dreds of thou­sands of refugees.

Nearly 700,000 Ro­hingya Mus­lims have fled north­ern Rakhine state to Bangladesh since Myan­mar launched a bru­tal crack­down on in­sur­gents six months ago that the US and UN have called eth­nic cleansing. Myan­mar re­jects that term, say­ing it was re­spond­ing to at­tacks by the Arakan Ro­hingya Sal­va­tion Army in late Au­gust.

But crit­ics ac­cuse the military of us­ing the in­sur­gent at­tacks to launch dis­pro­por­tion­ate, scorched-earth “clear­ance op­er­a­tions” as a pre­text to push out the loathed mi­nor­ity.

The new Amnesty re­port, “Re­mak­ing Rakhine State”, uses satel­lite im­agery and in­ter­views to point to a rapid in­crease in military in­fra­struc­ture and other con­struc­tion since the start of the year that re­searchers say amounts to a “land grab”.

“The new ev­i­dence and the re­build­ing that Amnesty has doc­u­mented in our lat­est re­search shows that the Myan­mar au­thor­i­ties are build­ing over the top of the very places the Ro­hingya need to re­turn to,” Ti­rana Has­san, Amnesty’s cri­sis re­sponse di­rec­tor, told AFP ahead of the re­port’s re­lease on Mon­day.

“In some in­stances there has been the de­struc­tion of ex­ist­ing homes.”

Though ad­mit­ting the im­ages only paint a par­tial pic­ture, the rights group says struc­tures for se­cu­rity forces, he­li­pads and even roads have been built in and around torched Ro­hingya prop­er­ties.

Satel­lite im­agery of one vil­lage called Kan Kya on the out­skirts of Rakhine’s Maung­daw town taken two months af­ter the Au­gust at­tacks shows a set­tle­ment scarred by fire.


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