An international rights group warned Myanmar that its widespread military crackdown on the Rohingya community may amount to crimes against humanity, as a meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers convenes in the country to discuss means of ending the plight of the ethnic Muslims.
In a report released on Monday, Amnesty International [AI] documented a campaign of violence by Myanmar's security forces against Rohingya since October 9, 2016, when a siege was imposed on the northern Rakhine State, where the Muslims are concentrated.
The 59-page report, named "Myanmar: ‘We are at breaking point'-Rohingya: Persecuted in Myanmar, Neglected in Bangladesh," has collected numerous accounts of violence against the country's Muslim Rohingya minority.
Soldiers and police have randomly fired on and killed civilians, physically abused women and girls, torched whole villages, and arbitrarily arrested Rohingya men and given no information about their whereabouts or charges, according to the report.
The military moves, mass murders, lootings and abuses have been a form of collective punishment targeting Rohingya in Rakhine and may amount to crimes against humanity, Amnesty International said.
The rights group condemned Myanmar for its forces' systematic crackdown on the Rohingya.
"The Myanmar military has targeted Rohingya civilians in a callous and systematic campaign of violence," said Rafendi Djamin, the Southeast Asia director for Amnesty International.
"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," he reiterated.
Amnesty's report came after similar documents by other humanitarian organizations were released, and the United Nations confirmed it was receiving daily reports of abuses and killings of members of the Rohingya community in the country.
"Myanmar's handling of northern Rakhine is a lesson in how to make a bad situation worse," UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, said in Geneva on Friday, adding, "The results have been catastrophic."
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team