HRW satel­lite data shows 1250 struc­tures de­stroyed

The Myanmar Times - - News -

MORE than 1200 houses have been de­stroyed in north­ern Rakhine State, according to an anal­y­sis of satel­lite im­ages by Hu­man Rights Watch re­leased yes­ter­day.

Af­ter re­view­ing high-res­o­lu­tion satel­lite im­agery, the in­ter­na­tional rights or­gan­i­sa­tion said it had iden­ti­fied 820 struc­tures that had been de­stroyed in five vil­lages in Maung­daw town­ship be­tween Novem­ber 10 to 18. This is the sec­ond such anal­y­sis of satel­lite footage from HRW, which the group said rep­re­sents an­other, “more destruc­tive round of ar­son at­tacks” fol­low­ing from the 430 de­stroyed struc­tures re­ported on Novem­ber 13.

In to­tal, the rights group said its anal­y­sis showed 1250 build­ings had been de­stroyed dur­ing the mil­i­tary lock­down, which be­gan af­ter deadly Oc­to­ber 9 at­tacks on bor­der guard posts.

Ther­mal data from en­vi­ron­men­tal satel­lite sen­sors an­a­lysed by HRW also re­vealed mul­ti­ple, ac­tive fires burning in sev­eral vil­lages be­tween Novem­ber 12 and 15.

“Th­ese alarm­ing new satel­lite im­ages con­firm that the de­struc­tion in Ro­hingya vil­lages is far greater and in more places than the govern­ment has ad­mit­ted,” Brad Adams, Asia di­rec­tor at Hu­man Rights Watch, said in a state­ment yes­ter­day.

The govern­ment said at a press con­fer­ence on Novem­ber 15 that fewer than 300 houses have been de­stroyed in at­tacks by mil­i­tants who want to “sow a seed of mis­un­der­stand­ing be­tween the govern­ment troops and the peo­ple”.

Pres­i­den­tial spokesper­son U Zaw Htay played down the lat­est satel­lite im­ages.

“What we have seen on the ground is not that wide­spread,” he told AFP.

“Both the govern­ment and the mil­i­tary have strongly pro­hib­ited any hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions, es­pe­cially against women and chil­dren,” he said.

Since the resur­gence of vi­o­lence in north­ern Rakhine State up to 30,000 peo­ple have been dis­placed, according to the UN, half of them over a two-day pe­riod when dozens died af­ter the mil­i­tary brought in heli­copter gun­ships.

Nearly 70 peo­ple have been killed, and more than 400 ar­rested since the lock­down be­gan six weeks ago, according to state me­dia re­ports, but ac­tivists say the num­ber could be far higher. – AFP with ad­di­tional re­port­ing by

The Myan­mar Times

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