Armed Rohingya group massacred Hindus in Myanmar, Amnesty International report alleges

'It’s hard to ignore the sheer brutality of ARSA’s actions, which have left an indelible impression on the survivors we’ve spoken to'

Jeremy B. White
San Francisco
Wednesday 23 May 2018 08:12
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Refugees are seen at the Cox's Bazar refugee camp in Bangladesh, near Rakhine state, Myanmar
Refugees are seen at the Cox's Bazar refugee camp in Bangladesh, near Rakhine state, Myanmar

An armed Rohingya group carried out at least one massacre of Hindu villagers in Myanmar’s conflict-wracked Rakhine state, an Amnesty International report has concluded.

Ethnic conflict has convulsed the southeast Asian country in recent years, with the military accused of slaughtering members of the Muslim Rohingya minority in the majority-Buddhist country.

But the new report from the human rights organisation suggests that a Rohingya group known as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) killed up to 99 Hindu women, men and children while also abducting Hindu villagers.

“It’s hard to ignore the sheer brutality of ARSA’s actions, which have left an indelible impression on the survivors we’ve spoken to,” Amnesty International’s Tirana Hassan said in a statement.

Myanmar’s government has justified a crackdown on Rohingya residents by saying they were suppressing an armed insurrection after attacks on police posts.

The Rohingya have responded by suggesting that their communities suffered disproportionate and undiscerning government reprisals as a result.

But while the Amnesty report accused Myanmar authorities of orchestrating a frenzy of “unlawful killings, rapes, and burning of villages” targeted at the Rohingya, driving a mass exodus to neighbouring Bangladesh, it said “no atrocities can justify the massacre, abductions, and other abuses” committed against Hindu villagers.

“Accountability for these atrocities is every bit as crucial as it is for the crimes against humanity carried out by Myanmar’s security forces in northern Rakhine State”, Ms Hassan said.

Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim crisis explained

After ARSA members launched an assault on army installations in August of 2017, the report says, Myanmar’s security forces responded with an “unlawful and grossly disproportionate campaign of violence marked by killings, rape and other sexual violence, torture, village burning, forced starvation tactics and other human rights violations”.

Security forces targeted all Rohingya in Rakhine state, the report alleges.

ARSA responded by unleashing violence on Hindu people, according to Amnesty. It says the group killed some Hindu villagers “execution-style” and abducted others, with survivors recounting having been forced to convert to Islam if they wished to be spared.

The group denied having carried out a massacre.

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