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Reuters: Myanmar commanders should be punished for rape of Rohingya: Human Rights Watch


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http://www.reuters.com/article/us-myanmar-rohingya-idUSKBN15L0E4?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Reuters%2FworldNews+(Reuters+World+News)

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Myanmar commanders should be punished for rape of Rohingya: Human Rights Watch

 

Human Rights Watch on Monday called for Myanmar to punish army and police commanders if they allowed troops to rape and sexually assault women and girls of the Rohingya Muslim minority.

 

The New York-based campaign group said it had documented rape, gang rape and other sexual violence against girls as young as 13 in interviews with some of the 69,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled to Bangladesh since Myanmar security forces responded to attacks on border posts four months ago.

 

"The sexual violence did not appear to be random or opportunistic, but part of a coordinated and systematic attack against Rohingya, in part because of their ethnicity and religion," a Human Rights Watch (HRW) news release said.

 

Reuters was unable to contact a Myanmar government spokesman to respond to the allegations.

 

An estimated 1.1 million Rohingya live in the western state of Rakhine, but have their movements and access to services restricted. Rohingyas are barred from citizenship in Myanmar, where many call them "Bengalis" to suggest they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We spotted black smoke billowing out of some trees, over the rice fields. It was another village going up, right by the road. And the fires had only just started. We all shouted at our police escort to stop the van. When they did, we just ran, leaving our bewildered government minder behind. The police came with us, but then declared it was unsafe to enter the village. So we went ahead of them.

 

The sound of burning and crackling was everywhere. Women's clothing, clearly Muslim, was strewn on the muddy path. And there were muscular young men, holding swords and machetes, standing on the path, baffled by the sight of 18 sweaty journalists rushing towards them. They tried to avoid being filmed, and two of them dashed further into the village, bringing out the last of their group and making a hasty exit.

 

They said they were Rakhine Buddhists. One of my colleagues managed a quick conversation with one of them, who admitted they had set the houses on fire, with the help of the police.

 

As we walked in, we could see the roof of the madrassa has just been set alight. School texts with Arabic script had been thrown outside. An empty plastic jug, reeking of petrol, had been left on the path.

 

The village was called Gawdu Thar Ya. It was a Muslim village. There was no sign of the inhabitants. The Rakhine men who had torched the village walked out, past our police escort, some carrying household items they had looted.

 

The burning took place close to a number of large police barracks. No-one did anything to stop it.

Wow.

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