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HRW: Rohingya Homes Destroyed in Myanmar

  • VOA News

FILE - Children recycle goods from the ruins of a market which was set on fire at a Rohingya village outside Maugndaw in Rakhine state, Myanmar, Oct. 27, 2016.

Human Rights Watch says it has satellite evidence that more than 1,000 homes in minority Rohingya villages have been destroyed in northwestern Myanmar, also know as Burma. The organization has called on the government to invite the United Nations to conduct an investigation into the "widespread destruction" of the villages HRW believes has been done by government troops.

Brad Adams, HRW's Asia director said, "These alarming new satellite images confirm that the destruction in Rohingya villages is far greater and in more places than the government has admitted."

Adams called on Myanmar's government, led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, to stop "responding with military-era style accusations and denials," urging it instead to "simply look at the facts and take action to protect all people ... whatever their religion or ethnicity."

Humanitarian aid groups say tens of thousands of people have been displaced by the recent violence with many of them attempting to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.

HRW says while the government maintains that terrorists are responsible for the destruction and that international journalists should investigate the claims, Myanmar continues to block not only journalists, but also humanitarian aid workers and human rights investigators from traveling to the impacted areas.

Yanghee Lee, U.N. special rapporteur on Myanmar, said "The security forces must not be given 'carte blance' to step up their operations."