Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Technology | By Russell Knight

Myanmar building security structures atop Rohingya land - Amnesty

Myanmar building security structures atop Rohingya land - Amnesty

The rights group cites eyewitness testimony and analysis of satellite images as proof of the leveling of the remains of Rohingya villages.

"In their place, what we are seeing on satellite imagery and confirmed by interviews that we've done, is that the authorities have built new security force bases, new roads and other infrastructure", he said.

"What we are seeing in Rakhine State is a land grab by the military on a dramatic scale", Tirana Hassan, Amnesty's crisis response director, said in a statement. "Not only are their homes gone, but the new construction is entrenching the already dehumanising discrimination they have faced in Myanmar".

In August, the Myanmar military launched a military operation in Rakhine state after deadly attacks on police stations. Al Jazeera was not able to independently verify those claims.

Nevertheless, Amnesty's report suggests that rebuilding and development in the Rakhine will be at the expense of refugees.

"S$3 ome people have posted [online] that the military is building army bases, helipads, and roads in villages that have been burned and bulldozed", he said.

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The majority of those displaced have sought refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh.

"In some instances there has been the destruction of existing homes". "They will never allow the Rohingya to return to their original villages". The new camp emerging at Hla Poe Kaung is a central part of a controversial repatriation plan for Rohingya refugees, which has languished for weeks after a late January start date fizzled.

Laura Haigh, Amnesty's Myanmar researcher, told Al Jazeera the demolition of their villages has created an "atmosphere of panic" among the Rohingya.

A United Nations investigator also confirmed the satellite images, while the Myanmar ambassador in Geneva said bulldozing is created to prepare for return of those who fled.

"[Instead] there's a growing sense this [militarisation] is going to be a threat to safety and security, and there's worry about violence happening again".

The new infrastructure mainly includes security bases.

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"Everything is done through Facebook in Myanmar", she told reporters, adding that Facebook had helped the impoverished country but had also been used to spread hate speech.

Lee said the violence in Rakhine had eclipsed anything seen in recent years in Myanmar, where the government has also fought insurgents in Shan, Kayin and Kachin states.

The BBC report says that Amnesty alleges that while the picture its new report presents "is only partial, the situation raises urgent concerns about its implications for the future of the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya... as well as the tens of thousands who continue to live in the region".

Kyaw Win, founder of the Burma Human Rights Network, told Al Jazeera that Myanmar authorities are still attempting to force Rohingya remaining in Rakhine into Bangladesh.

"The external review should assess whether the United Nations and worldwide community could have prevented or managed the situation differently that occurred regarding the Rohingya and in Rakhine State, and make recommendations for accountability if appropriate", she said.

"What we are seeing directly contradicts what the Myanmar government has been saying".

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Lee said the crimes committed by Myanmar authorities especially in the wake of October 2016 and August 25, 2017 - when a military crackdown began - "bear the hallmarks of genocide and call in the strongest terms for accountability".

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