Myanmar army's admission over killings is 'only the tip of the iceberg'

The Myanmar army has previously denied involvement in extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses © Getty Images

Fresh call for UN Fact-Finding Mission to be given access to country

‘Such behaviour shows a contempt for human life which is simply beyond comprehension’ - James Gomez 

Following today’s admission by the Myanmar army that its soldiers and villagers summarily killed ten captured Rohingya people and buried them in a mass grave outside Inn Din, a village near the town of Maungdaw in Rakhine State, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

“This grisly admission is a sharp departure from the army’s policy of blanket denial of any wrongdoing. 

“However, it is only the tip of the iceberg and warrants serious independent investigation into what other atrocities were committed amid the ethnic cleansing campaign that has forced out more than 655,000 Rohingya from Rakhine State since last August. 

“It is appalling that soldiers have attempted to justify extrajudicial executions by saying they were needed as reinforcements elsewhere and did not know what to do with the men. Such behaviour shows a contempt for human life which is simply beyond comprehension.

“Amnesty International and others have documented overwhelming evidence that far beyond Inn Din, in villages and hamlets across northern Rakhine State, the military has murdered and raped Rohingya, and burned their villages to the ground. These acts amount to crimes against humanity and those responsible must be brought to justice. 

“The full extent of the violations and crimes against the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities will not be known until the UN Fact-Finding Mission and other independent observers are given unfettered access to Myanmar, and in particular Rakhine State.”

Attempted whitewash

Myanmar’s armed forces have previously attempted to whitewash their role in crimes against humanity against the Rohingya in northern Rakhine State.

Amnesty research has shown how, since late August, Myanmar’s security forces have unleashed a targeted campaign of violence against the Rohingya population, including through the widespread killing of women, men and children; rape and other forms of sexual violence against Rohingya women and girls; laying landmines; and burning entire Rohingya villages. This comes in the context of a longstanding state-sponsored apartheid regime against the Rohingya. 

Satellite images analysed by Amnesty from Inn Din clearly show how an area of Rohingya homes have been burned to the ground, while non-Rohingya areas alongside them appear to have been left untouched.

Amnesty’s report My World is Finished from October includes the testimonies of seven Rohingya villagers from Inn Din. They described how the military and vigilantes raided the village over several days in late August, looting and burning homes and shooting people as they fled, as well as apparently targeting Rohingya men. Amnesty has not been able to determine the full scale of the killings in Inn Din. 

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