Asia - Pacific

Rights watchdog documents decade of abuses, crimes in Myanmar

Over 135,000 Rohingya, Kaman Muslims in Rakhine state 'arbitrarily, indefinitely' detained, says Human Rights Watch

Md. Kamruzzaman   | 15.06.2022
Rights watchdog documents decade of abuses, crimes in Myanmar

DHAKA, Bangladesh

Over 135,000 Rohingya and Kaman Muslims in Myanmar’s Rakhine state have been “arbitrarily” and “indefinitely” detained in the last decade, an international rights watchdog said on Wednesday.

“Myanmar authorities’ crimes against humanity of apartheid, persecution, and imprisonment have deprived Rohingya of their liberty and threatened their lives and livelihoods,” Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a new report.

The report – ‘Nothing Called Freedom’: A Decade of Detention for Rohingya in Myanmar’s Rakhine State – is based on interviews with the minority Rohingya and humanitarian workers from 2012 to the present day.

It documents how authorities in the predominantly Buddhist country have capitalized on the “ethnic cleansing” campaign launched in June 2012.

Referring to the June 2012 violence, it said township and border guard officials forced Rohingya to move to camps that were soon sealed off with barbed wire fencing and military checkpoints.

“Severe constraints on movement, livelihoods, and access to humanitarian aid and health care have only worsened over the past decade, compounded by inhuman living conditions,” the report said, adding that documents have revealed a growing tally of preventable deaths.

The watchdog urged the international community and all concerned governments to hold Myanmar officials accountable for their rights abuses and other grave crimes.

“The Myanmar junta’s unyielding oppression of the Rohingya people is the foreseeable result of the military facing no consequences for its decade of ethnic cleansing and system of apartheid,” said Shayna Bauchner, Asia researcher at HRW.

“A decade is a grim milestone for the 135,000 Rohingya detained in Myanmar’s camps whose accounts of deprivation receive scarce international attention.”

The report also criticized the international community for its lackluster role in efforts to resolve the crisis.

“Foreign governments, rather than seeking to hold accountable those responsible for the violence and ensuing apartheid state, began lifting sanctions and positioning themselves for the country’s political and economic opening-up,” read the report.

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