Tuesday, April 23, 2013

HWR: Stop ‘cleansing’ of Rohingya Muslims

The Burmese government engaged in a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya that continues today through the denial of aid and restrictions on movement. The government needs to put an immediate stop to the abuses and hold the perpetrators accountable or it will be responsible for further violence against ethnic and religious minorities in the country.
One soldier told a Muslim man who was pleading for protection as his village was being burned: “The only thing you can do is pray to save your lives.”

In the deadliest incident, on October 23, at least 70 Rohingya were killed in a daylong massacre in Yan Thei village in Mrauk-U Township. Despite advance warning of the attack, only a small number of riot police, local police, and army soldiers were on duty to provide security, but they assisted the killings by disarming the Rohingya of their sticks and other rudimentary weapons they carried to defend themselves. Included in the death toll were 28 children who were hacked to death, including 13 under age 5. “First the soldiers told us, ‘Do not do anything, we will protect you, we will save you,’ so we trusted them,” a 25-year-old survivor told Human Rights Watch. “But later they broke that promise. The Arakanese beat and killed us very easily. The security did not protect us from them.”

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