End persecution of the Rohingya: paper

ABU DHABI, — There seems to be no end to the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar as new satellite images released by Human Rights Watch, HRW, have now revealed that hundreds of buildings in Rohingya villages in western Myanmar have been torched.

“This certainly is an indisputable evidence of mass arson attacks against helpless Rohingya Muslims and their villages,” said The Gulf Today in an editorial on Monday.

Brad Adams, HRW Asia Director, has gone on record to say that the new photos showed widespread destruction that was “greater than we first thought.”

Such an escalation in violence in Rakhine state is a matter of grave concern. Recent reports indicate that soldiers are involved in killing, raping and burning the homes of the Rohingya.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate and the country’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has long been facing international criticism for not doing enough to ease the plight of around 1.1 million Rohingya living in Rakhine, most of whom are denied Myanmar citizenship.

The UN’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, has rightly called on Myanmar to investigate allegations of sexual assault in northern Rakhine state.

Myanmar should heed Zainab’s suggestion that the government allow humanitarian access to the area to provide support for the survivors. Religious tension has gripped Myanmar ever since waves of violence between the majority Buddhist population and the Rohingya left more than 200 dead in 2012.

More than 100,000 people, mostly Rohingya, were pushed into displacement camps by the bloodshed and have languished there ever since.

The blocking of access to the affected area by the military for journalists and aid workers has compounded the problem, creating doubts about attempts to conceal facts.

Rohingya activists on Saturday also uploaded a graphic video showing the corpses of eight people dressed in civilian clothes, including a small baby. As per the video, the victims died that day near Dar Gyi Zar village, with some showing bullet wounds.

As HRW’s Adams suggests, the best way out now is for the Myanmar authorities to promptly establish a United Nations-assisted investigation as a first step towards ensuring justice and security for the victims. Any delay would only raise serious questions about the new civilian government’s abilities to control its military.

“The international community should take a closer look at the plight of one of the world’s most persecuted people, before more harm is done,” concluded the Sharjah-based daily.

Source: Emirates News Agency

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