Myanmar 'militarizing' burnt Rohingya villages

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Satellite imagery revealed that new security bases have been erected over torched Rohingya land, said Amnesty International on Monday.

Myanmar is bulldozing villages and building security bases in Rakhine state, many of them on sites where Rohingya families once lived, Amnesty International said on Monday.

"What we are seeing in Rakhine State is a land grab by the military on a dramatic scale", Tirana Hassan, Amnesty's crisis response director, said in a statement. Amnesty has accused Burma of crimes against humanity.

Despite the fact that military operations have declined, the campaigns to banish the Rohingya from Myanmar and to prevent their return continue.

The government has denied burning down villages to drive out the Rohingya. The landscape has become "virtually unrecognisable" in many areas, the report said. This raises serious concerns that the authorities are destroying evidence of crimes against the Rohingya, which could hinder future investigations.

"It's not true that we are deploying the military among houses and among villages", he said, adding that bulldozing is necessary to work on burned land.

"Burma's authorities are erasing evidence of crimes against humanity, making any future attempts to hold those responsible to account extremely hard".

Aerial imagery of Kan Kya, Rakhine State, Burma. "There are only police posts for regional security and law enforcement reasons".

The pace of construction is alarming.

Amnesty said the developments in Rakhine were likely to signal further persecution when the Rohingya refugees return.

As well as rapid housing and road construction in the area, at least three new security facilities were under construction, the global human rights group said. Construction appears to have started in January.

Nearly six months after launching the military operation, Myanmar's military has admitted to only killing 10 captured Rohingya men, who, it claims, were "terrorists".

"People are in a panic".

Food, shelter and healthcare remain pressing needs for the Rohingya, who have fled a Myanmar army crackdown in Rakhine state en masse over the past six months. The images also show new refugee reception centres surrounded by security fences.

Myanmar does not recognise the Rohingya as its citizens, arguing they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, which has led to continued discrimination against the Rohingya community as well as restrictions on their freedom of movement.

Myanmar has denied it is covering up evidence, saying it is improving the standards of living in one of the country's poorest states.

The worldwide community, and in particular each donor state, has a duty to ensure that any investment or assistance it provides does not contribute to human rights violations. The authorities can not be allowed to continue their campaign of ethnic cleansing in the name of "development".