Burmese persecution of the country’s Rohingya minority flouts international law, with strong evidence that authorities committed crimes against humanity, says Amnesty International.
A newly released report suggests the government has enacted a campaign of collective punishment on Myanmar’s Muslim population since October, including multiple accounts of murder, rape, torture, displacement and forced disappearance.
Allegations include helicopter raids shooting randomly at civilians, the torching of entire villages and mass sexual assaults of women and girls by security forces, as well as hundreds of arbitrary detentions and mistreatment while in custody. 575 Rohingyas have been arrested since October with just 88 being convicted of a crime, according to the report.
Despite having been in Myamnar for hundreds of years, Rohingyas are routinely denied Burmese citizenship. 27,000 have already fled to Bangladesh, while others continue to seek refuge in countries such as Thailand, where thousands are trafficked into slavery, detained in horrific conditions, drowned at sea or discovered in mass graves.
Myanmar has also blocked humanitarian aid to 130,000 Rohingyas living in desperate conditions in Rakhine state.
Years of state-sanctioned abuse have created a rift between Myanmar and its ASEAN neighbours, many of which are predominantly Muslim.
At a rally in Kuala Lumpur earlier this month, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak described the situation as a “genocide”, adding, “the world cannot say it is not our problem. It is our problem.”