Myanmar's army admits killing Rohingya Muslims

  • Myanmar's army admits killing Rohingya Muslims

Myanmar's army admits killing Rohingya Muslims

Myanmar border guard police force patrol near the Myanmar-Bangladeshi border outside Maungdaw, northern Rakhine state, Myanmar, November 12, 2017.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has painted a gruesome picture of conditions in Rohingya camps inside Rakhine, saying 4800 children suffering from acute malnutrition before the violence erupted in August are no longer receiving life-saving treatment because treatment centres run by non-government-organisations have been looted, destroyed or staff can not access them.

The government of Buddhist-majority Myanmar has refused to accept Rohingya Muslims as a minority group, even though they have lived in the country for generations.

"These charges are a travesty of justice and should be dropped", said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch. "We have talked with the defendants and the statements of defendants differ from the submitted evidence".

With access to the area limited, proof of killings has been hard to establish.

Human rights groups have accused the police of entrapping the two Reuters journalists by giving them documents that were then deemed state secrets. State officials have confirmed the two are being investigated for breaching Myanmar's Official Secrets Act, which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.

"It is one of the most striking examples of how targeted the burning has been in the military's campaign", Wells said in a phone call.

Authorities in Myanmar have barred journalists from the region, leaving reporters to rely on Rohingya refugees' disturbing accounts of systematic murder, rape and destruction of entire villages.

Myanmar Army investigation panel has determined that villagers and security forces killed 10 Rohingya allegedly affiliated with Muslim militants who launched a series of attacks on security outposts in northern Maungdaw previous year. The statement went on to claim that the soldiers involved were responding to provocations but added that they would be dealt with by the military. Calling the dead individuals "Bengali terrorists", the army chief said that they will "take charge of those who are responsible for the killings and who broke the rules of engagement". "This incident happened because ethnic Buddhist villagers were threatened and provoked by the terrorists".

Mercado called the inability of United Nations agencies to access vulnerable Rohingya children who remain in northern Myanmar "troubling", saying that while "the eyes of the world" are focused on the 655,000 refugees who have fled across the border into Bangladesh, 60,000 Rohingya children remain "almost forgotten", trapped in squalid camps in central Rakhine.

Myanmar's government has strongly denied suggestions of "ethnic cleansing" in Rakhine. "In the interim, they need to be recognised first and foremost as children", she said, stressing that the Convention on the Rights of the Child guarantees rights to health, education and opportunities to learn and grow to all children, irrespective of their ethnicity or status or the circumstances in which they find themselves.

The military said on Wednesday that 4 security force members and Buddhist villagers killed the 10 people in September.

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