NEW YORK – A report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) revealed that security forces of Myanmar have planted landmines along the Bangladesh border to prevent Rohingya Muslims from fleeing.
The report of HRW, an international non-governmental organisation, which conducts research and advocacy on human rights, was published on Saturday, and called on the Burmese government take measures to stop the use of antipersonnel landmines immediately.
HRW South Asia Director Meenakshi Ganguly remarked, “The dangers faced by thousands of Rohingya fleeing atrocities in Burma are deadly enough without adding landmines to the mix”. He added, “The Burmese military needs to stop using these banned weapons, which kill and maim without distinction.”
The recent episode of violence erupted in August after the army accused Rohingya militants of attacking police posts. Following the military crackdown, which has been termed as “ethnic cleansing” by the UN, nearly 420,000 Muslims have crossed into Bangladesh for shelter.
The Burmese military says its operations in the northern Rakhine state are aimed at rooting out militants, and denies targeting civilians.
The HRW report, which carries accounts of witnesses, photo and video recordings, stated that the local soldiers have in recent weeks laid antipersonnel landmines at key crossing points on Burma’s border with Bangladesh.
The mines were laid on roads inside northern Rakhine State before the military attack on predominantly Rohingya villages.
On the other hand, the Myanmar government has blamed the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) of using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to kill security troops and damage the infrastructure.
On September 4, 2017, a landmine, laid on a path used by many refugees near the hamlets of Taung Pyo Let Yar, about 200 meters from the Bangladesh border, exploded leaving several mutilated. The next day, three Rohingya men were injured in three separate landmine blasts near the same border point.