An international rights group has warned Myanmar that its widespread military crackdown on the Rohingya community may amount to crimes against humanity, as a meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers convenes in the country to discuss means of ending the plight of the ethnic Muslims.
In a report released on Monday, Amnesty International documented a campaign of violence by Myanmar’s security forces against Rohingya since October 9, 2016, when a siege was imposed on the northern Rakhine State, where the Muslims are concentrated.
The 59-page report, named “Myanmar: ‘We are at breaking point’-Rohingya: Persecuted in Myanmar, Neglected in Bangladesh,” has collected numerous accounts of violence against the country’s Muslim Rohingya minority.
Soldiers and police have randomly fired on and killed civilians, raped women and girls, torched whole villages, and arbitrarily arrested Rohingya men and given no information about their whereabouts or charges, according to the report.
The military moves, mass murders, lootings and rapes have been a form of collective punishment targeting Rohingya in Rakhine and may amount to crimes against humanity, Amnesty International said.
The rights group has condemned Myanmar for its forces’ systematic crackdown on the Rohingya.
The UN says the Rohingyas are one of the most persecuted communities in the world.
Large numbers of them have been displaced to neighboring Bangladesh, where they also face hardships in ramshackle refugee camps.