18 September 2019   18. Muharram 1441
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Wednesday, 12 June 2019 09:49

“Myanmar military committing war crimes in Rakhine”

Human rights group calls for situation in Rakhine state to be referred to International Criminal Court

In a new report on Wednesday, Amnesty International said its investigations showed war crimes and human rights violations were being committed by soldiers from the Rakhine-based Western Command, which was also implicated in atrocities against the Rohingya in August 2017.

Victims also identified soldiers from the Myanmar Army's 22nd and 55th Light Infantry Divisions, units that usually operate in other parts of the country.

"Less than two years since the world outrage over the mass atrocities committed against the Rohingya population, the Myanmar military is again committing horrific abuses against ethnic groups in Rakhine state," Nicholas Bequelin, regional director for East and Southeast Asia at Amnesty International, said in a statement.

"The new operations in Rakhine state show an unrepentant, unreformed and unaccountable military terrorising civilians and committing widespread violations as a deliberate tactic."

More than 730,000 Rohingya, a minority ethnic group denied citizenship by Myanmar, were driven into Bangladesh in the bloody crackdown in 2017. A United Nations fact-finding mission has called for the prosecution of top Myanmar generals for crimes against humanity and genocide over the "This is very much a systemic, institutionalised problem with the Myanmar military that's not going to go away by sanctioning a few soldiers. This is not a country that's committed to accountability in any way, shape or form," said Laura Haigh, the Amnesty report's researcher.

In April, the United Nations said it was "disturbed" by reports of continuing attacks on civilians in the restive state.

In its report, titled No one can protect us: War crimes and abuses in Myanmar's Rakhine State, Amnesty is urging the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court and impose an arms embargo. It is also calling for sanctions against senior officials.

Amnesty said that it had put its findings to the Office of the State Counsellor and the Commander in Chief of the Myanmar Defence Services, but did not receive a reply.

Darul Ihsan Media Desk

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