Entire villages were burned to the ground last year as Burmese forces swept through Rakhine, killing and raping in a campaign the UN human rights chief called a ‘textbook example of ethnic cleansing’
Burma is allegedly building military bases on top of razed Rohingya villages, raising questions over the safety of hundreds of thousands of persecuted refugees who are due to be repatriated.
Detailed satellite images published by Amnesty International appear to show security infrastructure replacing homes burned when Burmese forces moved in to the northern Rakhine state. The images also show new refugee reception centres surrounded by security fences.
Amnesty said the developments in Rakhine were likely to signal further persecution when the Rohingya refugees return.
Tirana Hassan, Amnesty’s crisis response director, said: “The remaking of Rakhine State is taking place in a shroud of secrecy. The authorities cannot be allowed to continue their campaign of ethnic cleansing in the name of ‘development’.”
Entire villages were burned to the ground last year as Burmese forces swept through Rakhine, killing and raping in a campaign the UN human rights chief called a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.
The humanitarian crisis saw about 700,000 people cross the border.
Amnesty’s analysis of new satellite imagery appears to prove that at least three new security bases have been built in Rakhine since January.
The images also show new refugee reception centres surrounded by security fences and close to a heavy presence of military, raising concerns that Burma is preparing to restrict the freedom of Rohingya supposedly returning home to safety.
The images are published as the UN said nearly $1 billion (pounds 721 million) will be needed this year in international aid for Rohingya refugees living in overcrowded camps in southeastern Bangladesh.
As the monsoon season nears, aid groups need to relocate an estimated 100,000 refugees living in areas prone to landslides and floods, the UN country head Mia Seppo said.