BURMESE security forces have committed serious human rights violations against Rohingya men, women, and children, according to a report by the United Nations.
The report was based on interviews with 204 victims located across the border, in Bangladesh. It described mass gang-rape and killings witnessed by majority of the victims, with nearly half of them reporting family members who were either killed or missing. Over half of the 101 women interviewed experienced rape and other forms of sexual violence.
All the people interviewed reportedly fled to Burma after October 9, when two policemen were killed in an attack on three border posts stations along the border between Burma and Bangladesh. The attack resulted in intense military operations and a lockdown in north Maungdaw.
High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in a statement recounted a particularly harrowing case in which a baby “crying out for his mother’s milk” was stabbed, and the child’s mother witnessing this “while she is being gang-raped by the very security forces who should be protecting her”.
“What kind of ‘clearance operation’ is this? What national security goals could possibly be served by this?” he said. “I call on the international community, with all its strength, to join me in urging the leadership in Myanmar to bring such military operations to an end. The gravity and scale of these allegations begs the robust reaction of the international community.”
Accusations of rape, murder, arson, and detaining civilians have been leveled against the Burmese military for some time now.
Last week, the BBC reported that the commission formed by the government to investigate the rapes had been altering witness accounts, claiming that Burma’s state broadcaster had used incorrect subtitles during a witness interview.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s government has vehemently denied these accusations.