ISLAMABAD – International human rights organisations seem to have finally woken from their long slumber as a report from Amnesty International holds Myanmar security forces responsible for atrocities against the Rohingya community. This includes multiple incidents of unlawful killings, multiple rapes and the burning down of houses and entire villages, all of which have been categorised as crimes against humanity.

Based on extensive interviews with Rohingyas in both Myanmar and Bangladesh, as well as analysis of satellite imagery and photos and videos, the report also documents how dozens of people have been arbitrarily arrested during the military’s vicious and disproportionate security campaign in Rakhine State over the past two months.

“The Myanmar military has targeted Rohingya civilians in a callous and systematic campaign of violence. Men, women, children, whole families and entire villages have been attacked and abused, as a form of collective punishment,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

“The deplorable actions of the military could be part of a widespread and systematic attack on a civilian population and may amount to crimes against humanity. We are worried that the horrific tales of violations we have uncovered are just the tip of the iceberg.

“While the military is directly responsible for the violations, Aung San Suu Kyi has failed to live up to both her political and moral responsibility to try to stop and condemn what is unfolding in Rakhine state.” Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

The Myanmar security forces launched a large-scale security operation in northern Rakhine State following an attack on border police posts on 9 October. The attack was blamed on militants from the Rohingya minority, in which nine police officers were killed.

Amnesty International’s research reveals how the military campaign has gone far beyond what could be considered a proportional response to a security threat. Multiple eyewitnesses described how soldiers entered their villages, fired randomly at – and killed – villagers, women, men and children. In at least one instance, soldiers dragged people out of their houses and shot them dead. Amnesty International has not been able to determine the true death toll.-Online