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Human Rights Watch says satellite images show violence against Myanmar Rohingyas.

November 18, 2012

Human Rights Watch says new satellite images reveal that Buddhist extremists in Myanmar carried out attacks against the Rohingya Muslims with the support of state security forces and local government officials in October.

A group of Rohingya Muslims are seen at a camp in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine.

A group of Rohingya Muslims are seen at a camp in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine.

The rights agency said on Saturday that the local security forces killed Muslim villagers and assaulted people trying to flee the violence in the western state of Rakhine in late October.

Local forces killed minority Muslims in the town of Kyauk Pyu while government troops “stood by and watched,” the agency stated, adding that local border guards “severely beat” dozens of displaced Rohingyas arriving by boat near Rakhine’s capital Sittwe.

The satellite imagery also shows extensive destruction of homes and other property in three mainly Rohingya areas.

Human Rights Watch also reported accounts of “gruesome casualties” due to the ethnic violence in the area, including beheadings and killings of women and children.

“The satellite images and eyewitness accounts reveal that local mobs, at times with official support, sought to finish the job of removing Rohingya from these areas,” said Brad Adams, the Asia director of the rights agency.

Adams called for US President Barack Obama, who will make his landmark visit to Myanmar on Monday, to press Myanmar’s President Thein Sein to address the issue of Rohingyas.

“The absence of accountability for this horrific violence gives a green light to extremists to continue their attacks and abuses.”

Hundreds of Rohingyas are believed to have been killed and thousands displaced in recent attacks by the extremists, who frequently attack Rohingyas and set fire to their homes in several villages in the troubled region.

Myanmar army forces have allegedly provided the extremists with petrol to set ablaze the houses of the Muslim villagers and force them out of their houses.

Myanmar’s government has been accused of failing to protect the Muslim minority.

Some 800,000 Rohingyas are deprived of citizenship rights and suffer most from the policy of discrimination that has denied them the right of naturalization, and made them vulnerable to acts of violence and persecution, expulsion and displacement.

The Myanmar government has so far refused to lift stateless Rohingyas in Rakhine from the citizenship limbo despite international pressure to give them a legal status.

The Rohingya Muslims have faced torture, neglect and repression in Myanmar since it achieved independence in 1948.

Posted By: AliP


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