Rights Group Says Myanmar is 'Militarizing' Razed Rohingya Villages in Rakhine State

Rohingya Muslim refugees who were stranded after leaving Myanmar walk towards the Balukhali refugee camp after crossing the border in Bangladesh's Ukhia district

Rights Group Says Myanmar is 'Militarizing' Razed Rohingya Villages in Rakhine State

The Rohingya people from Rakhine, Myanmar are among the most persecuted minorities and regarded as the largest stateless nation in the world.

Tirana Hassan, Amnesty's crisis response director, said: "The remaking of Rakhine State is taking place in a shroud of secrecy".

A new report from Amnesty International alleges that Myanmar is conducting a "military land grab" on land in Rakhine state where Rohingya once lived, a report from BBC said.

"Just yesterday, new satellite imagery has revealed that military bases are being constructed in these bulldozed areas", he added. "No one wants to stay because they are afraid of more violence against them", said a 31-year-old man who fled to Bangladesh in January when the military erected a new fence and security post close to his village.

Myanmar is allegedly building military bases on the top of razed Rohingya villages, where the Rohingyas once lived before their persecution by the country's security forces in August a year ago.

AI said Myanmar authorities have launched an operation to rapidly expand security infrastructure across Rakhine State, including bases to house the military and Border Guard Police, as well as helipads.

Myanmar has denied claims it is covering up evidence, saying it is improving the standard of living in one of the poorest states in the country.

Nearly six months after launching the military operation, Myanmar's military has admitted to only killing 10 captured Rohingya men, who, it claims, were "terrorists".

As well as rapid housing and road construction in the area, at least three new security facilities were under construction, the global human rights group said.

"Myanmar's authorities are erasing evidence of crimes against humanity, making any future attempts to hold those responsible to account extremely hard", Hassan said.

"In some of the camps that have been established to receive refugees back, these are in highly militarised zones with a lot of security factors around it", said Mr O'Gorman. Not only have ir homes been destroyed, but new constructions dehumanize even more discrimination y already suffered, "says Hassan". A repatriation agreement with Bangladesh was supposed to come into force in January.

"Before repatriation can be really considered, Myanmar must break the cycle of violence in Rakhine, recognize the Rohingyas' right to self-identify, restore their citizenship, and uphold their human rights", Lee said.

This is worrying since authorities have in the past resettled members of other ethnic groups into Rakhine State as part of efforts to develop the region.

Monday's findings follow a report published by Human Right Watch last month, which found that the military was bulldozing Rohingya villages that were either burnt down or abandoned last summer.

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