• Rohingya Vision

Burma: Military Burned Villages in Rakhine State

New York – Satellite imagery and interviews with refugees place responsibility for burnings of Rohingya villages in Burma’s Rakhine State squarely with the Burmese military,

Human Rights Watch said today. Since October 9, 2016, at least 1,500 buildings have been destroyed, driving thousands of ethnic Rohingya from their homes.

Military and government officials should immediately allow humanitarian agencies, the media, and human rights monitors access to all of Rakhine State’s Maungdaw Township.

The Burmese government has repeatedly denied using arson as a tactic, instead accusing militants of setting fire to Rohingya villages.

“The new findings refute the Burmese military and government’s claims that Rohingya militants were responsible for burning down their own villages,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

“The satellite imagery and eyewitness interviews clearly point the finger at the military for setting these buildings ablaze.”

The new satellite imagery analysis of villages in Maungdaw Township reveals four new elements.

First, the total number of destroyed buildings identified by Human Rights Watch has climbed to 1,500 as of November 23. The full number is probably higher as tree cover may have concealed some destroyed buildings.

Second, the pattern of burnings over time suggest government responsibility for the destruction.