Rohingya: Persecuted in Myanmar, neglected in Bangladesh

19 December 2016, 11:25 UTC | Myanmar, Bangladesh
@YE AUNG THU/AFP/Getty Images

In the pre-dawn hours of 9 October 2016, several hundred men attacked three border police posts in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State. Nine police officers were killed and weapons and ammunition were seized. The attackers are believed to be part of a militant group called Harakat Al-Yaqin (Faith Movement), composed primarily of individuals from the Rohingya ethnic group.

The government immediately tightened security throughout northern Rakhine State. Large numbers of soldiers were immediately deployed in the region and began search operations to apprehend the attackers and recover the weapons seized by them. A curfew in Maungdaw and Buthidaung Townships in place since 2012 was extended, and people were ordered not to leave their villages. The government sealed off the area, forcing the suspension of humanitarian aid and precluding access by journalists and rights monitors.

The situation has had a devastating impact on the Rohingya, a Muslim minority that has suffered decades of severe persecution in the country. In the past two months, the government has repeatedly insisted that their security operations are aimed at apprehending “violent attackers” and are being conducted “in accordance with the law”.

However, the evidence presented in this report suggests that security forces in their response to the 9 October attacks, have perpetrated widespread and systematic human rights violations against the group including by deliberately targeting the civilian populations with little, or no, regard for their connection to militants. While some unknown number of Rohingya participated in the 9 October attacks and subsequent clashes with security forces, the overwhelming majority did not.

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