Myanmar 'building military bases on Rohingya villages'

Rohingya Muslims carry their children and belongings after crossing the border from Myanmar into Bangladesh

A human rights group says Myanmar is building bases on land where the homes and mosques of Rohingya Muslims once stood. Called Remaking Rakhine and elaborated through analysis of satellite images, photographs, videos and interviews with Rohingya in Myanmar and neighbouring Bangladésh, where y flee, report assures that landscape of that Burmese western state, with Not only houses, but also trees and vegetation devastated, is "unrecognizable" in contrast to a few months ago. "New bases are being erected to house the very same security forces that have committed crimes against humanity against Rohingya", said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International's Crisis Response Director.

Myanmar and Bangladesh were supposed to start repatriating Rohingya refugees in late January but many are reluctant to return to a place without guarantees of basic rights and safety.

A Myanmar government spokesperson dismissed the allegations, saying schools, hospitals and roads are being built in response to United Nations advice.

Satellite imagery also shows how new refugee reception centres - meant to "welcome" Rohingya who return from Bangladesh - are surrounded by security fences and close to areas with a heavy presence of military and border guard personnel.

Myanmar's security forces have, as per independent reports and investigations, tortured, killed and raped scores of Rohingya people and burned down whole villages in the name of fighting alleged Rohingya insurgents.

Earlier a report had emerged saying that Myanmar government was destroying Rohingya villages in the Rakhine state with the help of bulldozers in a bid to erase the pieces of evidence of mass atrocities conducted against the Muslim minority group of Rohingyas.

Amnesty said that authorities were also destroying villages not burnt but "deserted by inhabitants fleeing killings, starvation and the threat of further violence".

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"Not only are their homes gone, but the new construction is entrenching the already dehumanizing discrimination they have faced in Myanmar", Hassan added.

The repatriation plan, postponed at moment, fits into a three-step roadmap raised by China, Myanmar's largest trading partner and Bangladésh.

"This must be aimed at the individuals who gave the orders and carried out violations against individuals and entire ethnic and religious groups", said Lee.

"I am becoming more convinced that crimes committed. bear the hallmarks of genocide, and call in the strongest terms for accountability", she told the UN Human Rights Council.

Aerial imagery of Kan Kya, Rakhine State, Burma.

Hla Tun Kyaw, who spends most of his time at the national parliament in Myanmar's capital Naypyidaw, said he speaks with authorities in Maungdaw two or three times a week, and they have denied reports about the construction activities.

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