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Burma: Forty Rohingya villages burnt since October
Rakhine State (New York, December 18, 2017) - Human Rights Watch said today that analyzing the images from satellites shows new devastations of Rohingya communities in October and November 2017 in Burma's North Rakhine State. Humans Rights Watch isolated 40 settlements whose buildings were demolished in October and November, bringing the number to 354 settlements that have been partly or totally demolished since 25 August 2017.
At the same time, more Rohingya migrants from Burma escaped and reached Bangladesh. Satelite images confirm that in the same month a dozen structures were burnt down, and Bangladesh ratified a Memorandum of Understanding on 23 November to begin the return of displaced persons to Bangladesh within two-month. At the 25th of November satellites discovered an activated fire and demolition of a village in Myo Mi Chang in Rakhine State's Maungdaw Township.
Between 25 November and 2 December, four hamlets were destroyed. In the Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathiduang communities, where Burma's armed forces and vigilante forces have attacked, Human Rights Watch has captured and monitored over 1,000 communities with the help of satellites. The Human Rights Watch found that the pattern of damages in the 354 affected communities coincided with the burns in the week after the start of the war.
Out of the 354 affected communities, at least 118 were partly or totally demolished after September 5 - the day the Burmese State Council's Bureau reported the end of the evacuation work. Out of the 40 new buildings demolished by Human Rights Watch, 24 were demolished in October, 11 in November and 5 in both month.
Recent documentary fire bombings took place between 25 November and 2 December in four towns. On November 25, at 12:30 pm, satellites from environment sensor sources discovered an ongoing fire in the Rohingya village of Myo Mi Chang in the township of Maungdaw. The demolition of the buildings was focused in the centre of the village, which remained intact until this war.
Nga/Myin Baw, Goke Pi and an unfamiliar village in the village part of Zee Pin Chaung are other settlements exposed to fires during this time. Bangladesh and Burma on 23 November concluded an agreement on the return of displaced persons from Rakhine State on account of the "inhabitants of Rakhine State" who came to Bangladesh from Burma after 9 October 2016 and 25 August 2017.
Human Rights Watch said in a letter to both parties that the treaty should be put on hold because the United Nations is not engaged and the impossible schedule for a secure and volunteer return from January 2018 cannot be met. Burma's armed forces have since the end of August carried out wide-spread murders, rape, indiscriminate detentions and massive arsons in several hundred predominantly Rohingya communities in the north of Rakhine State, and forced more than 655,000 Rohingya to escape to neighbouring Bangladesh.
The Human Rights Watch has found that this cleaning-up drive is a crime against man. Assaults by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) group on 30 junta bases of the world' s largest peacekeeping forces and a Burma based air strike that murdered 11 of Burma' s junta' s security forces started Burma' s Burma military'evacuation operations' against the Rohingya.
A November Burma Armed Forces "investigation team" said that "no people innocent died" during the Rakhine state militia operations and that at least 376 "terrorists" were murdered during the fights, in contrast to information from the UN, the press and various groups on behalf of the UN, as well as humanitarian groups, in particular the UNHRC.
On 14 December, the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) group came to the conclusion that at least 6,700 Rohingya were murdered in the war, including over 700 refugee deaths.