Reuters Inn Din report highlights need for independent probe, says US

10 February, 2018, 04:38 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • Cobra Gold 2017. The Myanmar flag will be flown when the war games get under way again next week

Asked about the evidence Reuters had uncovered about the massacre, Myanmar government spokesperson Zaw Htay said on Thursday, before publication of the report: "We are not denying the allegations about violations of human rights".

Released by Reuters news agency as part of an ongoing investigation, the photographs show 10 men tied together in a line, facing the camera.

The United States says a Reuters report about the massacre of Muslims a year ago has highlighted the need for an independent and credible investigation into allegations of atrocities in northern Rakhine State.

Reuters said the military's version of events was contradicted by accounts given by Rakhine Buddhist and Rohingya Muslim witnesses.

In additionto ongoing massacres, rapes and the wholesale destruction of villages by the Myanmar military in western Rakhine state that has forced almost 750,000 people to flee to Bangladesh, the food supply now appears to be another weapon that's being used against the dwindling numbers of Rohingya.

In the story, Myanmar said its "clearance operation" is a legitimate response to attacks by insurgents. "And we are not giving blanket denials". There was no comment from the government following the publication of the report.

The majority of the 1.1 million Rohingya who once lived in Myanmar have fled, with almost 700,000 now living in camps in Bangladesh, which neighbors Myanmar on its western border. British Labour Party lawmaker Rosena Allin-Khan told BBC's Newsnight that the Reuters report was consistent with accounts she had heard while working as a doctor at Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh previous year.

"We are encouraged by the committee's vote and urge the Senate to bring the bill to a floor vote without delay in order to address the current humanitarian and human rights crises afflicting the Rohingya people", Homer Venters, PHR's director of programs, said in a statement.

He was the first high-level military officer to be named in the sanctions for overseeing the campaign of atrocities and one of 52 individuals and entities that the US has sanctioned under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act for alleged human rights violations and corruption.

"As more evidence comes out about the pre-planning and intent of the Myanmar armed forces to wipe out Rohingya villages and their inhabitants, the global community ... needs to focus on how to hold the country's military leaders accountable", said HRW's deputy Asia director Phil Robertson.

The rights group also said that it had documented three recent incidents of the Myanmar military abducting girls or young women in January.

The Reuters report centers on claims that in early September eight men and two teenage high school students in the Myanmar village of Inn Din were executed and then buried in a mass grave.

The two reporters are being tried under the Official Secrets Act - a British colonial-era, counterespionage law - for their investigative work with Reuters, the worldwide news wire, on military operations in Rakhine state.

Since August 2017, an estimated 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Burma, also called Myanmar, following the intense military crackdown by the Buddhist run government against the Muslim minority. They are in prison while a court decides if they should be charged under the colonial-era act.


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