로힝야/인권기록

“미래를 살아가기 위해 과거를 대변해야하는 반드시 필요한 과정”

인권기록은 분쟁지역 인권침해 사건이 발생하면 그 상황을 기록하는 사업입니다. 진실규명, 책임자처벌, 피해자 구제, 재발방지 4대원칙에 입각하여 활동을 합니다. 피해자들의 목소리를 한국사회나 UN에 대변해서 전달합니다. 피해자들의 이야기를 객관적으로 전달하는 것이 가장 중요하다는 생각을 가지고 사업을 진행합니다.

UN Communication letter and Human Rights Report on Rohingya people

작성자
adi2017
작성일
2017-06-26 14:36
조회
59


 

ASIAN DIGNITY INITIATIVE

143 Sangdoro-15gil, #410

Dongjak-ju Seoul 06937

Republic of Korea

Email: asiandignity2016@gmail.com

Focal Point: Kinam Kim, esq.

 

                                                                                          12 June 2017

 

COMMUNICATION TO:

United Nations Human Rights Council
  • Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar

  • Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances

  • Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions

  • Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples

  • Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons

  • Special Rapporteur on minority issues

  • Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief

  • Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

  • Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences

 

 

Re: Human Rights Violations against Rohingya people that have taken place since October 2016 by the Government of Myanmar including its Military and law enforcement.

 

 

On behalf of 48 victim survivors of the human rights violations allegedly by the Government of Myanmar including its own military and law enforcement, Asian Dignity Initiative is hereby submitting communication to the numerous mandate holders of the United Nations Special Procedures as listed above for the constructive dialogue with the Government of Myanmar.  It is noted that the names listed in this report are real ones and the victim survivors wish to remain anonymous when you communicate with the Government of Myanmar for their safety concern.  Please do not hesitate to contact if you have any inquiry with respect to submission of this communication.  We thank you.

 

 

 

Sincerely yours,

 

 

Asian Dignity Initiative

 

Summary

 



 

On October 9, 2016, Harakah al-Yaqin, an armed group that pursues the terminatin of Rohingya persecution, attacked three places including a police station and guard posts in Maungdaw township located in the northern part of Rhakine State. In this attack, nine police officers died and guns and bullets fell into the hands of Harakah al-Yaqin. In order to subjugate Harakah al-Yaqin, the Myanmar Army and the Border Guard Police blocked every access to the related areas. The government expanded curfew, shot down schools, and prohibited gatherings of more than five people. The media’s approach was also controlled and humanitarian aid was blocked.

 

Under the government’s massive counter-insurgency operation, 300-2,000 troops worked in small unit to search the whole villages. The search was conducted unawares once every two or three days or sometimes four times a day. The village’s residents survived by taking refuge in the mountain when soldiers raided the village and coming back after they left. Some escaped to another village, but there was no such thing as a safe place.

 

According to the Myanmar Government, the operation lasted for four months until the third week of February in 2017. However, it is still early to confirm this as a fact with the recent series of reports that contradict the government’s statement. The Myanmar Government is detaining about five hundred suspects under arrest some of whom have been sentenced or still on trial. The detained people’s rights to legal aid and have visitors are limited. The UN has estimated that more than a thousand people died with the government’s counter-insurgency operation. About fifteen hundred buildings and houses were destroyed by arson and seventy-five thousand people became refugees. A lot of refugees are staying at the temporary refugee camp in Bangladesh, but there are also a lot of internally displaced people in Myanmar.

 

To summarize the interviews of the surviving victims conducted by ADI: First, the Myanmar Army and the Border Guard Police murdered Rohingya civilians in Maungdaw township, located in northern Rakhine State, with indiscriminate firing, firing at close range, battery, arson, deadly weapons (sword), rape, etc. Children could not avoid the brutal murder, either; Second, majority of the Rohingya men was arbitrarily arrested and then went missing afterward; Third, the Army and the Border Guard Police battered Rohingya civilians with rifle’s gunstock, club, and military boots while women fell victim to rape, gang rape, and sexual violence; Four, houses and buildings were set on fire or destroyed and the villagers were looted of their property including money, gold accessories, food, livestock, and so on.

 

The Myanmar Government completely denies the suspicion of human rights violation raised by the UN, international human rights groups, and media. The Government argues that the armed forces set fire with an intention to shift the blame to the Army and induce international support. In addition, the Government denied the suspicion of rape by defining it ‘false information’. After last October, the Myanmar Government has established four investigation committees and conducted investigation activities. Nevertheless, the credibility and effectiveness of the investigation are doubted, as the construction and activities of the committees are neither independent nor impartial and lack expertise in human rights. Moreover, no person has been investigated, put on trial, or sentenced so far regarding serious human rights violation cases.

 

The Myanmar Government should conduct prompt, independent, and impartial investigation, punish the people responsible for serious human rights infringement, and take appropriate measures to compensate the surviving victims. The Myanmar Government should provide humanitarian aid to the people internally displaced after the counter-insurgency operation.

 

If the Myanmar Government has no will or lacks ability to take such measures, the international community should promptly intervene and take it to the International Criminal Court to see if this case fits as genocide or a crime against humanity and punish the people responsible and provide support to the surviving victims so that their rights are restored.

 
 
 

 

CONTENTS

 

 

Summary  2

 
  1. Introduction 5

 
  1. Background

  2. Purpose

  3. Method

 
  1. Course of Incident 7

 
  1. Beginning of Incident

  2. Identity of Armed Forces

  3. Counter-Insurgency Operation by Myanmar Military

 

III. Human Rights Violations  12

 
  1. Killing

  2. Battery

  3. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, Enforced Disappearances

  4. Rape, Gang Rape, Sexual Assault

  5. Arson

  6. Looting of Property

 
  1. Reactions from the International Community and Myanmar Government 19

 
  1. International Community

  2. Myanmar Government

 
  1. Recommendations 21

 

 






  1. Introduction

 
  1. Background


 

There are approximately two million Rohingya people on the earth. 1.3 million of them live in Myanmar, 400 thousand in Saudi Arabia, 300 thousand to 500 thousand in Bangladesh, and 200 thousand in Pakistan, respectively.[1] The Rohingyas in Myanmar are mainly residing in the northern part of Rakhine State, in the Bangladesh border region. This ethnic group has been living in this region, around the Bay of Bengal, since long before the British colonial era forming the same cultural area.[2] As the border was artificially drawn with the independence, the Rohingya people were incorporated into Myanmar and Bangladesh.[3] The Rohingyas in Myanmar is a Bengali-speaking Muslim group who consider themselves as a minority race in Myanmar.[4] Some refer to Rakhine region as ‘the space of convergence’ where the Rakhine and the Rohinya people used to coexist.[5]

 

However, the military regime of Myanmar did not recognize the Rohingya people as natives of Myanmar. The Myanmar Government considers them as illegal immigrants who were brought in as labor force for engineering works before Burma was liberated from the Great Britain in 1948. The Government insists that the Rohingyas did not go back to their country after Burma’s independence and settled illegally in Rakhine State.[6] In fact, Ne Win Administration revised the Burma Citizenship Law in 1982 to not grant the Rohingyas with Burmese citizenship, and they remain stateless to this day.[7]

 

The Rohingya people have long been persecuted in Myanmar. Like other minority groups, the Rohingyas have been taking their own stance and working for their independence and not participated in the independence movement led by the Bamar people.[8] The Rohingya people’s armed struggle continued after Burma gained independence from the Great Britain. The military regime and the ruling class consisting mostly of Buddhist Bamar people prosecuted or segregated the whole Rohingya group in the name of subjugation.

 

The Myanmar Government evicted two hundred thousand Rohingya people to Bangladesh in 1978 and two hundred and fifty thousand in 1991 through Naga Min Operation in the name of counter-Muslim insurgency.[9] In 2012, at least two hundred Rohingya people died and one hundred thousand people were isolated induced from the conflict with Buddhist Rakhine people.[10] This incident was triggered by the case in which several Rohingya men raped a Buddhist woman and intensified as the Buddhists in Rakhine attacked the Rohingyas in retaliation.[11] With this incident, the anti-muslim sentiment was spread throughout the whole nation and the hate speech instigated by extremist Buddhists increased to a critical level.

 

Furthermore, the oppression on the Rohingya people has been solidified in Myanmar’s social structure. The Myanmar nationality is stripped away from or not granted to the Rohingya people.[12] With the severe restriction of freedom of movement, the Rohingya people have to receive permits to visit nearby regions or pay a toll.[13] They even need permission from a government office to get married.[14] They are restricted from getting jobs and cannot run for office.[15] The voting rights of the Rohingya people were deprived in the 2015 general election.[16] Under such oppression, thousands Rohingya people became ‘boat people’ and floated around the nearby ocean until the incident took place recently.[17] The military government thinks that such measures are directly connected to the interests of the Bamar people. The assassination of the Muslim attorney U Ko Ni, who had provided legal advice to the National League for Democracy (NLD), can be understood in the same context.[18] “The assassination is good for the race and the religion,”[19] said the person who instigated the assassination.

 

After October 9, 2016, the Rohingyas have become victims of serious human rights infringement, yet again. Myanmar’s military government conducted a counter-insurgency operation for four months to subjugate the armed group of Rohingya people. The Rohingya support groups along with the international society argue that severe violations of human rights have occurred during this process. The reports published by Amnesty International (AI), Human Rights Watch (HRW), AHDIKAR, OHCHR, and Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human rights in Myanmar state that Myanmar army committed battery, murder, torture, arbitrary detention and punishment, gang rape, arson, and looting of property. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), up to seventy-five thousand Rohingya people crossed the border to go to Bangladesh looking for shelter.

 
  1. Purpose


 

The purpose of this report is to grasp the reality of human rights violation committed to the Rohingya people after October 9, 2016 based on the testimonies of the surviving victims and urge the intervention of the International community including the UN.

 
  1. Method


 

This report was drawn up based on literature review and interviews. Asfor literature review, this report is synthetically referring to the reports on the reality of the human rights of the Rohingya people before and after October 2016. In particular, ADI secured the basic information required for grasping the reality and conducting interviews and referred to the testimonies of the surviving victims contained in AI’s recent report and OHCHR’s Flash Report on human rights.

 

ADI interviewed the surviving victims who crossed the border after October 9, 2016 and settled in Nayapara and Leda refugee villages from February 22 to March 1 in 2017, in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. It is impossible to conduct site investigation as of now in Maungdaw, northern Rakhine State, where human rights violation on Rohingyas occurred.

 

A total of forty-eight people were interviewed. All of them were the victims of human rights violation induced by the military ’s counter-insurgency operation. Forty-two (87.5%) of them eye-witnessed critical human rights infringement. Twenty-four (50%) of the interviewees were female and the other twenty-four (50%) were male. As for the age group of the interviewees; five people (10%) were under the age of 19, twelve (25%) were in their 20’s, twelve (25%) were in their 30’s, eleven (23%) were in their 40’s, six (12.5%) were in their 50’s, and two (4%) were in their 60’s.

 

Among the interviewees, forty-four people (92%) were from Maungdaw and only four people (8%) were from Buthidaung. It has been confirmed through this interview that most of the human rights violation cases took place in Maungdaw, which coincides with other related reports. The fact that people from Buthidaung are included in this interview indicates that the military’s counter-insurgency operation extended to some part of Buthidaung.

 

The interviewees were from twenty-four villages: Kyet Yoe Pyin (six persons), Pwint Hpyu Chaung (four persons), Yae Khat Chaung Gwa Son (four persons)[20], Nga Khu Ya (three persons), Kyar Gaung Taung (two persons), Maung Hna Ma (two persons), Ngan Chaung (two persons), Hpar Wut Chaung (two persons), Wa Peik Kyee Kan Pyin (two persons)[21], Ye Dwin Kyung (two persons), Yai Twin Chaung (two persons), Dudang (two persons), Myouk Taung (two persons), U Kye Kya (two persons), Gaw Du Thar Ra (one person), Laung Don (one person), Ngar Sar Kyu (one person), Jam Pangya (one person), Shilkhali (one person), Sakki Pyan (one person), and Thamin Chaung (one person) from Maungdaw; and Puyolet (two persons), Ulapey (one person), and Taung Bazar (one person) from Buthidaung.

 

Four people (8%) crossed the border in October, eighteen people (37.5%) in November, nineteen people (40%) in December, and seven people (14.5%) in January.

 

The interview was conducted in English and then translated to Bengali. Majority of the interviewees were not able to communicate in Burmese, the official language of Myanmar, since they had been excluded from Myanmar’s formal school education system. On top of that, Bengali language and place names in Bengali have been used in northern Rakhine State, in which Maungdaw is located, as the Rohingyas have formed their cultural areas there for a long time. Accordingly, every interviewee used place names in Bengali instead of Burmese.

 

Before the interview, ADI explained about the purpose of interview, the range of questions, the use of interview contents, and principle of confidentiality to the interviewees and asked for their consent for using their real name. As ADI failed to arrange a female interpreter, male interviewer and male interpreter conducted interview and female interviewees were notified in advance that they could stop the interview or refuse to answer at any time.

 

The interview was carefully conducted at a place where the interviewees’ security was guaranteed, instead of the refugee camp or residence they were staying at considering the security issue.

 

All interviewees testified that they had not provided interviews to other organization regarding their experience after October, 2016.

 

ADI was not able to have a process of verification of the testimonies through other routes, for that it was impossible to visit Maungdaw at the time where human rights violation had occurred, hence the inability to find other witnesses or confirm the arguments of the troops that performed the operation with the military.

 

Furthermore, this report has a limitation that it does not speak for overall human rights violation on the Rohingya civilians committed by the Myanmar military and police after October, 2016, since it only documents the human rights violation as testified by the forty-eight surviving victims.

 

 
  1. Course of Incident

 
  1. Beginning of Incident


 

At the dawn of October 9, 2016, around two hundred to four hundred Rohingya men armed with knife, slingshot, and thirty rifles attacked three police guard posts in Kyee Kan Pyin, Kyee Kan Pyin, and Nga Khu Ya located in northern Rakhine State near Bangladesh border, and Koe Dan Kauk located in Rathedaung Township.[22] The guard post in Kyee Kan Pyin village was the headquarters of the Border Guard Police (BGP).[23] This attack left nine police officers dead, six officers and one officer’s wife and one civilian wounded.[24] Among the attackers, eight died and two were captured alive.[25] Fifty-one guns and tenthousand bullets of various types kept in armory fell into the hands of the armed group.[26]

 

On October 11 at around 2~5PM, the Myanmar government announced that an additional conflict took place in Kyet Yoe Pyin and Nga Khu Ya and left four soldiers dead.[27] However, overseas Rohingya groups insisted that the government’s statement is false and seven residents of Myo Thu Gyi died in fact, not the soldiers.[28] U Hla Soe testified in the interview that Rohingya residents were escaping the village when the soldiers arrived, and the soldiers fired at them.[29] The soldiers even fired artillery toward the forest, to which the village residents fled.[30]

 

According to the interim report by the Myanmar President Office, there was an attack on military vehicles on operation on the 12th and 13th of November, which left two soldiers dead along with several people from the armed force.[31]

 

On November 12, a group armed with guns and spears attacked the army and the police when they approached Mayin Taung at dawn. As a result, one soldier died, two soldiers were wounded, and six armed forces were shot down.[32] At around 2PM on the same day, the armed group made a sudden attack on soldiers in Gwa Son and neighboring villages killing one commander and wounding two soldiers.[33] Consequently, the army fired at the armed group in return using two helicopters.[34] The armed group set up mines on the bridges near Maunghnamataung and in Phawkitaung to attack the police and their employees moving in trucks.[35]

 

According to the same report, the BGP were attacked by an armed group of seven people while conducting counter-insurgency operation in Gwa Son in the morning of November 13. In this battle, the BGP killed six of the insurgents. In Dar Gyi Taung, the BGP were attacked by an armed group of twenty-five people and killed nineteen of them.[36]

 

Some media reported that during the two-day military operation, fifteen thousand people became domestic refugees, seventeen soldiers and police died, sixty-nine people from the armed group were killed, and two hundred and thirty-four people were arrested, in accordance with the statistics provided by the government.[37]

 

The Myanmar President Office stated that from the initial battle on October 9, 2016, until the end of the counter-insurgency operation on February 9, 2017, a total of twenty battles or conflicts occurred during four months,[38] majority of which occurred before November 15, 2016.[39] It is assumed that there was no visible conflict between the military and the armed force after mid November in 2016.

 
  1. Identity of Armed Forces


 

The International Crisis Group pointed out Harakah al-Yaqin as the force that led the attack made on October 9, 2016.[40] Harakah al-Yaqin (hereinafter referred to as HaY) put on a video clip on Youtube and announced that the attack on October 9 was indeed their work.[41]

 

HaY has its head office in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and is operated under the leadership of a committee composed of twenty committee members.[42] It is assumed that the people who carried out HaY activities in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State are Rohingyas from Saudi Arabia. It seems that they received military training in Pakistan after witnessing the 2012 Rohingya persecution in Rakhine state and infiltrated into Myanmar via Bangladesh.[43]

 

HaY lived in the same environment as the Rohingya residents in northern Rakhine State and earned their trust.[44] As the Rohingya residents went through the persecution in 2012 and 2013, the feeling of despair spread among them and they started to support HaY.[45] Some people felt that they were withering away little by little each day.[46]

 

HaY claims to advocate the termination of persecution on the Rohingyas and secure their rights and autonomy as citizens of Myanmar.[47] The leaders of HaY declared that they are ‘not a terrorist group as regarded by the Myanmar government, but a revolutionary group that carries out activities against the Rohingya persecution’.[48] On April 1, 2017, Ata Ullah, who has been pointed out as the leader of HaY, rejected HaY’s affiliation with Muslim organizations abroad and reaffirmed that HaY is focused on restoring the rights of the Rohingyas in an interview.[49]

 

The Myanmar government considers that HaY’s armed attack is a conduct of damaging the sovereignty of the nation and asserts that HaY’s affiliation with overseas organizations makes the issue more complicated.[50] While the Myanmar government regards the people who died during the ‘battle’, namely HaY, as jihadist.[51] Zaw Htay, the spokesperson of Aung San Suu Kyi, has also made a statement that HaY is affiliated with the Middle East terrorist group. As such, the perception about HaY varies.[52]

 

With regard to HaY’s attacks, there exist substantial amount of criticisms within the Rohingya communities as well. The Rohingya communities criticize HaY for not consulting with them or not notifying them of the attacks in advance and not giving them time to prepare. In particular, they are critical of the fact that HaY overlooked the consequences of the armed attacks.[53]

 
  1. Counter-Insurgency Operation by Myanmar Military


 

Shortly after the attack on October 9, 2016, the Myanmar Army (Tatmadaw) and the Border Police (BGP) conducted a full-fuledged counter-insurgency operation. They completely blocked Maungdaw area to track down the people related to the attacks and controlled most of the Rohingya Muslim residential areas located in northern Rakhine State.[54] They even controlled the access of the humanitarian aid and media.[55] The previous curfew hours of 11PM~4AM were expanded to 7PM to 6AM.[56] The army and the border police ordered four hundred public schools to close[57] and prohibited gatherings of more than five people.[58] The BGP commander officer Maung Maung Khaing resigned from his position liable for the failure in obtaining intelligence and not being able to avoid the attack on the headquarters.[59] On October 14, Aung San Suu Kyi, the President, and the commander-in-chief held a ‘Special Meeting on Armed Forces and Security’ to prepare a ground for the military to intervene within the boundary of the constitution without the declaration of a state of national emergency. In reality, the military commanded the counter-insurgency operation in northern Rakhine State.[60] However, the Myanmar government used the term ‘joint operation’ meaning it is conducted by the BGP and supported by the military.

 

As the strategies of counter-insurgency operation, the military blocked four factors: food, fund, intelligence, and recruits.[61] These strategies included forced migration of the residents, destruction of the villages within the boundary of the operation, and recovery and devastation of food.[62]

 

Arakan Gazette, the nation’s official news agency reported that the commander of the Western Region formed a troop of three hundred and fifty soldiers and conducted the operation to arrest the armed forces mobilizing helicopters and naval vessels.[63] The surviving victims interviewed by ADI testified that they witnessed helicopters supporting the military operation or firing indiscriminately at the villages in Kyet Yeo Pyin (October 13), Yai Twin Chaung (November 12), Gwa Son (late November, early December), Myouk Taung (mid November), Ye Dwin Kyung (early December), and so on. Some of the witnesses said that they got wounded by the bullets from the helicopters.[64]

 

The counter-insurgency operation was carried out by three hundred to two thousand soldiers searching the whole villages in small groups. The surviving victims ADI interviewed stated that after a large-scale group of soldiers come into the village, they divided into small groups of seven to eight or twenty to fifty people at the most to conduct operation.[65] According to a high ranking official of the Rakhine State Government, the soldiers were prepared to fire upon the resistance of the armed group.[66]

 

The BGP employed about one hundred and twenty civilians from Rakhine State and engaged them in the operation.[67] According to the government, they went through a basic intensive training and were engaged in the operation as regular members.[68] However, there exists a concern that the Rakhine civilians engaged in the operation might look like the BGP’s militia to the Rohingya local residents, which might blur the boundary between civilians and police force and induce another conflict.[69]

 

The interviewees testified that the operation took place once every two or three days or sometimes four times a day.[70] The operation was expanded later from Maungdaw to Puyolet village, Ulapey village, and Taung Bazar village in Buthidaung.[71]

 

The villagers survived by escaping to the mountain when the soldiers came in to the village and coming back after the soldiers withdrew.[72] Some fled to other villages, but there was no place safe from the brutality of the army.

 

After the counter-insurgency operation was initiated, the atrocities committed by the army and the BGP started to come to light. In particular, there were reports on the shot down of the suspects on site, arson of habitation, extortion of property, and confiscation or devastation of food, and sexual assault on female villagers.[73]

 

According to the Fortify Rights, an international human rights group, on October 10, a day after the attack on the police guard post, the army raided Myo thu Gyi village at 6:30 in the morning. Ishmael M (age 23), witnessed a soldier shooting down a Rohingya resident Nagu (age 50), who was completely unarmed, at around 8AM.[74] “I was watching it through the window. Soldiers made a phone call and then shot Nagu. I saw them shooting him in the face and head. After that, they left the corpse on the ground and just left,” said Ishmael M.[75] He also witnessed the corpses of his neighbors, Noor Allam (55) and Noor Bashar (25). “The soldiers did not arrest people. They just killed people,”[76] testified Ishmael.

 

The New York Times and Reuters also raised a suspicion on the same day that the Myanmar soldiers might have killed seven unarmed Rohingya residents in Myo Thu Gyi village.[77] The New York Times reported, We fled when soldiers came into Myo Thu Gyi village and three people were killed in the process”, quoting Mratt Kyaw Thu, a Frontier Myanmar reporter.[78] This local reporter denied the contents of the previous quotation later saying that he is in trouble due to that report and changed his testimony to ‘ the dead and the injured had attacked the soldiers first and the soldiers fired back in return.’[79]

 

The Myanmar government denied the allegations of human rights violation,[80] but it was difficult to examine the allegation when the access of media and independent observers were blocked altogether. Nonetheless, Human Rights Watch (HRW) compared and analyzed the satellite pictures of northern Rhakine State from October 22, November 3, and November 10 and confirmed on November 13, 2016 that eighty-five buildings in Ngar Sar Kyu village, two hundred and forty-five buildings in Kyet Yoe Pyin village, and one hundred buildings in Wa Peik village had been destructed.[81] HRW assumes that they were destructed by fire considering the traces of destruction.[82] Amnesty International (AI) also confirmed through the analysis of satellite pictures that three hundred and fifty buildings were destroyed in Dar Gyi Zar between November 10 and 23, two hundred and forty-three buildings were destroyed in Kyet Yoe Pyin village around November 10, and ninty-six buildings were destroyed in Wa Peik around November 7.[83]

 

Regarding the suspicion of arson, the Myanmar government and military pointed out the ‘terrorists’ or the violent armed forces as the main suspect of the arson of houses and buildings.[84] They argue that the Muslim terrorists are trying to pin the criticism on the military that conducts counter-insurgency operation in order to induce international supports.[85]

 

Furthermore, the Myanmar government flatly rejected the rape allegation saying that it is false information.[86] Aung Win, the chairperson of Rhakine Investigation Committee, even said that soldiers cannot rape Rohingya women, because they are so filthy.[87]

 

According to U Thaung Tun, the national security advisor, the military stopped the counter-insurgency operation conducted for four months in the third week of February in 2017 (between 12th and 18th). Consequently, the curfew was moderated, and the limitation imposed on the movement of the Rohingya local residents was removed.[88] However, Aung Ye Win, the spokesperson of the Myanmar military asserted shortly after that the military will not stop the counter-insurgency operation. “It will be a long-term operation and I do not know anything about the information that the military operation is to be stopped”,[89] said Aung Ye Win, showing the difference between the stances of the government and the military. In reality, the counter-insurgency operation has not been terminated. According to Rohingya media, over a thousand troops and police raided Dudang village at 10AM on March 31, 2017, confined around a hundred people in a local school, and investigated at least two people.[90]

 

As a result of the counter-insurgency operation, the army and the BGP designated at least four hundred and twenty-three people and up to five hundred and eighty-five people as the participants of the October 9th armed attack and detained them. Majority of them are still detained and the human rights of the people detained are not properly guaranteed. According to the data acquired by Reuters in March 2017, four hundred and twenty-three people have been detained by the police since October 9.[91] Among them, thirteen were children, the youngest being only ten years old.[92] The Myanmar police asserted that the children detained confessed their crime in the investigation process and the investigation process did not involve any violence or coercion.[93] In addition, Lt-Col Win Naung, the chief of Sittwe Police Station stated on February 2017 that more than five hundred suspects were detained. The prosecution procedure for twenty-eight cases is now ongoing and ten people have been released.[94] The President Office counted that five hundred and eighty-five people have been arrested and thirty-nine people accused of murder are waiting for trial for murder.[95] Yanghee Lee, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar, revealed last January that over four hundred and fifty people are still detained in Buthidaung prison with no understanding of their charges, access to legal aid, and contact with family.[96]

 

Lt-Col Win Naung, the chief of Sittwe Police Station reported that Uruma, who led the attack on October 9, was sentenced to death on February 10, 2017, and thirteen other people are on trial in charge of Myanmar Penal Code 302(1)(C).[97]

 

It is impossible to check the exact number of the death occurred in the course of counter-insurgency operation. Nevertheless, some estimate that approximately one thousand people died. While Zaw Htay, the spokesperson of the Myanmar President, declared in an official statement that no more than one hundred people died in the process of the operation, a UN official who requested anonymity predicted that the death toll would go over one thousand.[98] On top of that, as the recent OHCHR’s report contains the circumstances of mass killings and gang rape, the number of victim is expected to increase.

 

At least fifteen hundred houses and buildings have disappeared with the counter-insurgency operation[99] and approximately seventy-five thousand people have been displaced and staying at the temporary refugee camps in Bangladesh.[100] Since access to northern Rakhine State is limited, the number of domestic refugees who lost their homes due to the counter-insurgency operation is difficult to count. The situation for these domestic refugees got worse as the government refused humanitarian aid. On December 18, the government permitted the support of food and medical service to about one hundred villages in Maungdaw and Buthiaung. Consequently, the World Food Programme (WFP) provided food to eight hundred people in four villages and provided money and food to approximately twenty-eight thousand people between December 19 and 29.[101] Shortly after that, the government prohibited humanitarian activities again for security reasons.[102]

 

 

III. Human Rights Violation

 

In February 2017, ADI interviewed forty-eight surviving victims who had crossed the border to Bangladesh and recorded their experiences of human rights violation. The forty-eight people were all victims of human rights violation and forty-two of them witnessed similar scenes of human rights violation.

 

To summarize the contents of the damage of the forty-eight surviving victims, firstly, thirty-two family members of twenty-two people (22%) were victims of the army’s extrajudicial killing. The types of killing were divided into eight categories: three cases (9%) were by indiscriminate firing from helicopter, nine cases (28%) by shooting at close range, one case (3%) by long-distance shooting, seven cases (22%) by battery, four cases (13%) by arson, one case (3%) by weapon, one case (3%) by drowning, and four cases (13%) of child murder. Secondly, among the forty -people, thirty-two people (67%) experienced battery. Thirdly, fifty-one family members (including the interviewees themselves) of thirty-one people (65%) were arrested. Among them, thirteen family members of eighteen people (38%) were temporarily interned or detained and thirty six family members of twenty-three (48%) people went missing.

Fourthly, three people (6%) out of the forty-eight surviving victims were victims of gang rape and six people (12%) were sexually assaulted.

Fifthly, the houses of twenty people (42%) were burned to ashes by arson and houses of four people (8%) were destroyed.

Sixthly, nineteen people (40%) were robbed of their property. Thirteen people (27%) lost their money, twelve people (25%) lost gold, six people (12%) lost accessories, twelve people (25%) lost livestock (25%), and six people (12%) lost food.

 

Among the forty-two people who witnessed human rights violation cases (excluding their own experience), twenty-seven people (64%) witnessed murder. To be specific, twelve people out of forty-two (29%) witnessed murder by indiscriminate shooting, twelve (29%) witnessed murder by short-distance/long-distance shooting, twelve (29%) witnessed murder by battery, five (12%) witnessed murder by arson, six (14%) witnessed murder by weapon (sword), three (7%) witnessed rape and murder, and two (5%) witnessed child murder. Twenty (20%) out of forty-two people witnessed battery, twenty six (62%) witnessed the Rohingya villagers being arbitrarily arrested, and seventeen (40%) witnessed their neighbors’ disappearances. Nine people (21%) out of forty-two people witnessed gang rape, eleven (26%) witnessed rape, and five (21%) witnessed sexual assault. Twelve witnesses (29%) saw houses set on fire and fifteen (36%) people witnessed their neighbors’ being robbed.

 

The surviving victims pointed out the Myanmar Army and the BGP as the perpetrator of human rights violation. They distinguished the soldiers and the border police by the color of their uniform. Forty-six people (96%) pointed out green uniform, the Myanmar army, and twenty-three (48%) people pointed out camouflage uniform, the BGP. Twenty-one people (44%) testified that the army and the police conducted operation at once and there were only two cases (4%) where the BGP performed the operation on its own. Twenty-four people (50%) testified that the army independently performed the operation. To sum up, the counter-insurgency operation was led by the Myanmar Army.

 

What is peculiar is that the surviving victims from Ngan Chaung, Maungdaw, testified that ‘Rakhine extremists’ came to the village along with the army and the BGP around October 15 and performed an operation.[103] However, testimonies about whether or not the operation Rakhine extremists conducted was the same as the operation the army and the police conducted could not be obtained.

 
  1. Killing


 

According to the reports of HRW, AI, and OHCHR, the army and the police indiscriminately fired at the Rohingya residents while conducting search operation in villages. In addition, killings by short-distance shooting, arson, rape, and battery continued. A UN official estimated that the number of victims would reach approximately one thousand.[104]

 

The Myanmar government has been denying such suspicion and taking a stance that the death toll is under one hundred, which was unavoidable damage induced by the self-defense in response to the armed forces’ attack. Nevertheless, it is difficult to reveal the truth when independent investigation is not allowed and only the testimonies ‘prepared’ by the military are being reported through the state-run media.[105] Since independent, fair, and thorough investigation has not been realized to this day, it is hard to make a definitive judgment yet.

 

However, the testimonies of the surviving victims make it hard to trust the Myanmar government’s argument that it was self-defense. The victims testified that the army and the police would march into the village without a notice be that midnight,[106] prayer hours at dawn,[107] morning,[108] afternoon,[109] or meal time[110] and started to fire indiscriminately. A lot of Rohingya men who were trying to escape from the shooting were killed. The Rohingya villagers came back to the village after the army and the police withdrew from the village. When the army and the police come back to the village to conduct operation, the village residents would escape again four times a day at the most, or once every two to three days or a week.[111] Regardless of gender, once one was arrested by the army or police, it was likely that she or he could not return home. Therefore, the only choice the Rohingya villagers had was to escape.

 

The surviving victims confirmed that Rohingya civilians never attacked the army and the police first. Moreover, the search operation of the army and the police was not conducted based on the concrete charge that certain people were involved in HaY or the attacks in October and November. Rather, the search operation was conducted as if to punish the whole Rohingya villages on the premise that every civilian of the Rohingya villages supported the armed forces.[112]

 

Such operation pattern occurred in the villages in Maungdaw from October to December where the surviving victims were from, such as Kyet Yoe Pyin, Pwint Hpyu Chaung, Yae Khat Chaung Gwa Son, Nga Khu Ya, Kyar Gaung Taung, Maung Hna Ma, Ngan Chaung, Hpar Wut Chaung, Wa Peik Kyee Kan Pyin, Ye Dwin Kyung, Yai Twin Chaung, Dudang, Myouk Taung, and U Kye Kya.

 

(1) Indiscriminate Shooting

 

The army and the BGP frightened the village residents by shooting indiscriminately as soon as they entered the village. When the frightened villagers ran away, the army and the BGP aimed and fired randomly at them. It has been confirmed that they also killed people using helicopters to indiscriminately fire automatic weapons at people.

 

“On October 13, two helicopters fired firearms at the people fleeing while the soldiers set every house in the village on fire. Soldiers threw grenades to the stream from the helicopters and killed four people who were hiding by the stream. I collected the corpses with neighbors after the army withdrew,” testified 50 year-old Mohammed Eleas from Kyet Yeo Pyin village in Maungdaw.[113]

 

“On day in late November around 2PM, two to three hundred soldiers rushed into the village. As soon as they reached the village, they searched for people and shot them down. In addition, two green helicopters fired automatic weapons from above and killed people. . . . I was shot in the shoulder and back by the helicopter. I could get treatment after I crossed the border to Bangladesh. I still feel so much pain in the wounds that I cannot work,” recalled 47 year-old Shomsul Alam from Yae Khat Chaung Gwa Son village in Maungdaw.[114]

 

(2) Firing Aimed Shot

 

According to the testimonies, soldiers and police aimed and fired at the family members of the surviving victims or fleeing villagers at short distance. Soldiers and police arrested residents and beat them up, and if someone escaped, they would shoot them in the back or capture them again, tie their hands, beat them up, and then shoot them. Some people were killed by long-distance aimed shots.

 

Hosen Ahamed (age 45) from Yae Khat Chaung Gwa Son village in Maungdaw testified that on a Sunday morning in early December around 3AM, around twenty soldiers invaded his house and conducted search operation. He said that the soldiers tried to arrest his eldest son, but when he tried to escape, they shot him from behind. The son died on the spot.[115]

 

“In mid December, my father Abdul Amin (age 45) was sitting in the living room when the soldiers came to our house. He said he would be ok, because he is old. The soldiers came into the living room and dragged my father out and shot him to death without saying anything,” said Nur Begum (age 25) from Ye Dwin Kyung village.[116]

 

“Over one hundred armed soldiers invaded my village. My parents were crossing a bamboo bridge to flee to a neighboring village. My mom was shot and fell into the river. My dad was arrested and never came back. I crossed the border by myself following my neighbors,” said Mohammed Hasan (age 10) from Kyet Yeo Pyin village in Maungdaw in the interview.[117]

 

(3) Battery-Murder

 

The witnesses testified that Rohingya civilians were extensively exposed to the battery committed by soldiers and police armed with rifle, club, and long sword. In worst cases, they were beaten up to death.

 

“My husband was arrested by three soldiers in civilian clothes in late October. They did not say a word as to why they were arresting my husband. Five days later, my husband came back home, but he was brought in by others, because he could not walk. He said he was ‘detained at a police station’, but did not know which one. He also said that he was ‘beaten up really bad’. . . . My husband’s body was badly swollen at the time and had a really bad case of hemoptysis from internal injury and a broken arm. He died a few days later,”[118] recalled 36 year-old Mousana Begum from Thamin Chaung village in Maungdaw.

 

“Around mid or late January, around one hundred armed soldiers came to our village at around 3AM. They dragged my father-in-law out to the yard and beat him up for a long time until his shoulders were broken. The soldiers took him to somewhere and I still have no idea where he is. . . . The soldiers killed my husband by beating him with clubs and guns and kicking him for two to three hours. His teeth all broke and he coughed up blood,” said 25-year-old Regina Begum from Kyet Yeo Pyin village said in her testimony.[119]

 

(4) Arson-Murder

 

The surviving victims testified that soldiers and police also locked people inside their house and set the house on fire. “Around November 14, over fifty armed soldiers came to our village. They set my house on fire with my husband, son, father-in-law, and in-laws inside. They were burned to death with the house,” Romida Khatun (age 45) from Puang Pyu Chaun village told ADI in the interview.[120] “My father was 95 years old and he could barely move, but the soldiers lit a clothes soaked in gas to set our house on fire. My father was burned alive,” said Satera Begum (age 35) from Puyolet village in Buthidaung.[121]

 

(5) Murder with Weapons

 

According to the testimonies of the surviving victims, soldiers and police were armed with rifle, club, long sword, and short sword. They stabbed Rohingya civilians to death. “My older brother was arrested and dragged to my house. The soldiers tied his hands and feet and killed him with swords. Five people from the neighboring village were killed the same way,” said 47-year-old Shomsul Alam from Yae Khat Chaung Gwa Son village in his interview.[122]

 

(6) Rape and Murder

 

The surviving victims confirmed that soldiers and police frequently committed sexual assaults while conducting search investigation in Rohingya villages. In many cases, a number of soldiers and police assaulted numerous women, in the form of gang rape. Women who tried to resist were brutally beaten up. The victimized women died from rape or gang rape or were killed by the soldiers and police after the rape.

 

“In late November, pretty women were taken to somewhere and went through a body check. They were robbed of their accessories, gold, money, etc. and raped. Some died,” said Shomsul Alam (age 47) from Yae Khat Chaung Gwa Son village.[123] Moriam Begum (age 25) from Puang Pyu Chaung village testified as follows;

 

“. . . I saw at least eight to ten women getting raped. Some soldiers took four women to a hut and raped them for two days. The women were found dead afterward.”[124]

 

(7) Child Murder

 

The cruelty of soldiers and police had no mercy even for a 2-year-old child. “Last October, numerous soldiers, police, and people from Rakhine arrested my husband in between Ngna Chaung and Kyet Yeo Pyin villages. I saw them beating up my husband and then taking him somewhere. . . . They threw and killed my 2-month-old baby. My eldest son and I were beaten up and got serious internal injuries,” Sura Khatun (age 30) from Kyet Yeo Pyin village told ADI.[125] In addition, Shomsul Alam (age 47) from Yae Khat Chaung Gwa Son village testified that he witnessed at least five cases of soldiers throwing babies into a pond in late November.[126]

 

Ramioa Begum (age 22) from Ye Dwin Kyung village who lost her 2-year-old son recalled the circumstance at the time as follows;

 

“Some day in early December, about one hundred and fifty armed soldiers and police invaded the village in the morning. They mobilized helicopters and randomly fired automatic weapons for about two hours. I heard that sound, too. . . . Soldiers came into my house, arrested my husband, and then beat him up really badly. The battery lasted for thirty minutes. My husband coughed up blood and his whole body was covered in blood. The soldiers took him away and I have not seen him since then. . . . One soldier lifted my 2-year-old son upside down and killed him by smashing him down on the ground.”[127]

 
  1. Battery


 

Soldiers and police were armed with rifle, gun, club, long sword, short sword, and so on. They beat up the surviving victims with fist, gunstock, club, etc. and kicked them in anywhere they pleased. The battery occurred in almost every village where the army and the police conducted the operation. Some Rohingya people were beaten up in group as soldiers and police gathered them in vacant lots or schoolyard, and some were beaten up individually or in family-unit during the process of search investigation in their houses or around the villages.

 

47-year-old Nuf Hosan from Myouk Taung village remembered the situation at the time as follows;

 

“One day in mid November, soldiers in green uniform came into my house at dawn when I finished my morning prayer with two grandsons of my relative living next door. They dragged us out to the yard and started beating us up. The soldiers were armed with long rifles and guns. I do not remember the total number of the soldiers, but I think about fifteen of them beat us up. They hit and kicked our whole body with rifle’s gunstock and their fists for about eight to ten minutes. I think they stopped the beating and moved to somewhere else when someone said “they are dead”. . . . I lost consciousness around then. My wife moved me to a safe place and I woke up the next day. I coughed up blood for a week. I still feel a lot of pain from the internal injuries I got from then every time I wake up in the morning, and it is still hard to breathe. I cannot walk properly because of the pain in the left leg.”[128]

 

The beating time varied for each individual from five minutes up to one or two hours. In many cases, the victims lost consciousness. The victims got internal injuries from battery and coughed up blood along with external injuries, such as broken arm or leg. Many surviving victims had mobility difficulties with limping leg or sore arms and were impossible to continue a normal life at the time of the interview.

 

“In early December, soldiers raided my village. They came to my house and asked for valuables. When I refused, they dragged me out to the yard and started hitting me in the back and legs with clubs for about half an hour. . . . I think my wife, mother, and my brother’s wife were also beaten up for thirty minutes. My mother’s head bled for two to three days. She still has a 10cm long scar in the head,” 30-year-old Mustafa Kamal from Puyolet village in Buthidaung testified.[129]

 

Soldiers and police beat up everyone regardless of gender and age. Soldiers and police committed battery if someone expressed oppositions or concerns regarding the operation of the army and the police, and in order to gain information they want, to forcibly receive the consent to the rape, or to punish if someone refused. They also beat up people for no reason saying “Leave. This is not your country.”

 

“Around mid or late January, around a hundred armed soldiers entered our village at around 3AM. . . . They battered my husband with club, gunstock, and kicking for two to three hours until he died. . . . The soldiers tried to rape me and I refused. My clothes were all ripped, but I did not get raped. They beat me up with the rifle’s gunstock in my shoulder and head. I still have difficulties moving my left shoulder,”[130] testified Regina Begum (age 25) from Kyet Yeo Pyin village.

 
  1. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, Enforced Disappearances


 

The surviving victims said that Rohingya men between the age of fifteen and sixty were subject to arrest by the army and the police. Rohingya males in this age group were badly beaten up during the arrest process and taken somewhere. Some were detained in the police station and released after going through investigation. Some of them were severely tortured during the investigation process.

 

In many cases, Rohingya men were temporarily detained in a village or vacant space in a forest as a group. Irrespective of the venue they were detained, battery continued.

 

“On November 12, soldiers came to my house and demanded money. They took 100,000 kyat. . . . On December 25, soldiers came to our village again demanding money. . . . About fifty villagers were detained in a vacant lot and they were beaten up. We were then transferred to Lawadak, to which it takes twenty minutes by boat and two hours by foot. In Lawadak, soldiers and police gathered us in a vacant lot in the forest again and battered us really badly. I lost consciousness. My two sons were also arrested. About fifteen people including myself and my younger son fled into the mountain nearby the next morning and survived. . . . I do not know the whereabouts of my big son,” said Hamid Hosan (age 47) from Olafe village in Buthidaung in the interview.[131] “Around mid December, my younger brother Syedul Amin (age 15) was arrested in front of the house and taken somewhere. There is no reason for him to be arrested, so I do not know where he is. I do know even know if he is alive,” Nur Begum (age 25) from Ye Dwin Kyung village testified.[132]

 

The surviving victims said that they do not know where their family members are after they were arrested, not to mention whether or not they are still alive. They all confirmed that soldiers and police never notified them of any information regarding the charges or the place of detention at the time of the arrest of their family members.

 

35-year-old Satera Begum from Puyolet village in Buthidaung remembered the time when her husband was being arrested as follows;

 

“In late December, my family was having dinner when twenty to thirty soldiers rushed into my house. My husband tried to run away, but soon captured. The soldiers tied his hand backward and had him kneel down. They battered him with clubs in front of me for about one to two hours and then took him somewhere. He has not come back since then and I do not know whether or not he is alive.”[133]

 
  1. Rape, Gang Rape, Sexual Assault


 

According to the surviving victims’ experiences, “young and pretty” Rohingya women became targets of soldiers and police. The range and level of the rape crime the Rohingya women experienced were too broad to consider as “aberration” of some soldiers and police. Soldiers and police raped people as they conducted search investigation in Rohingya villages. They raided villages at night looking for women. Numerous women were battered for resisting against rape. In many cases, the form of gang rape was reported.

 

Ramioa Begum (age 22) from Ye Dwin Kyung village described her experience as follows;

 

“Some day in December, armed soldiers came to my village. Men were arrested and battered to the extent where they died or were severely injured. The soldiers captured women, beat them up, and raped them. There were four to five women from our village who were raped and killed, including the two teenage girls from next door. . . . Around twenty soldiers locked me and my younger sister in a room and battered us for half an hour with fists and clubs. Then five soldiers raped my sister and I was raped by two soldiers. My sister was seven months pregnant at the time.”[134]

 

Moriam Begum (age 25) from Puang Pyo Chaung village testified as follows;

 

“One day in early December, thirty soldiers invaded my house and looked for women. About ten to fifteen soldiers locked me and my younger sister in a room. Some of them held my sister’s arms and legs so that she cannot move and took turn to rape her. Then they killed her in front of me. I was raped, too. Twice. . . . After that night, women from my village gathered and started to live together at a vacant lot to protect ourselves. After fifteen days, soldiers came again and raped us in group. I saw at least eight or ten women getting raped. Some soldiers took four women to a small hut and raped them for two days. The four women were found dead afterward.”[135]

 

The surviving victims testified that Rohingya women were raped by soldiers and police. In the process of soldiers and police stealing accessories Rohingya women were wearing or money they were hiding in the chest, there was unwanted physical touch. Soldiers and police also sexually assaulted women by taking off their clothes and filming certain body parts. 45-year-old Syedul Islam from Dudang village in Maungdaw told Adi about his wife and daughter’s experience.

 

“In early December, soldiers gathered all remaining women in a school playground from 10AM to 4PM. They had the women lay their face down as if they were praying, took their clothes off, and then filmed them from behind. My wife and daughter were there. Soldiers and police beat them up as well. My wife, five months pregnant at the time, were kicked in the belly and lost the baby.”[136]

 
  1. Arson


 

The surviving victims told ADI that the army and the police set fire to Rohingya people’s houses in almost every village. “One day in mid November at around 7AM, armed soldiers invaded my village. At around 9AM, one helicopter appeared and indiscriminately shot automatic weapons at the village. . . . Soldiers stole 20,000 kyat and gold and set my house on fire. I escaped the village right away,” 45-year-old Ali Ahamed from Myouk Taung village told in the interview.[137] 30-year-old Mustafa Kamal from Puyolet village testified, “One day in early December at around 4 or 5PM, soldiers invaded my village, poured gas and set houses on fire.”[138]

 

Some Rohingya people’s houses were destructed. Saly Ahamed (age 55) from Ngar Sar Kyu village told ADI that soldiers destroyed houses with long sticks.[139] Mousana Begum (age 36) from Thamin Chaung village said that soldiers tore down almost every wall in houses saying that the insurgents might use walls as shield in the battle.[140]

 
  1. Looting of Property


 

The surviving victims said that soldiers and police looted almost every property of the Rohingya villagers in search investigation. According to the testimony of 22-year-old Ramioa Begum from Ye Dwin Kyung village, soldiers searched the village once every two to three days. They invaded houses and sometimes destroyed them. “Soldiers took gold, accessories, 1,000,000 kyat, valuables, five cows, three goats, and ten chickens from my house,” said Ramioa Begum.[141] “In late December, soldiers took sixteen cows, twelve goats, twenty bags of rice we harvested for a year, 4,500,000 kyat hidden in rice bags, and clothes,” 35-year-old Satera Begum from Puyolet village in Buthidaung told ADI.[142]

 

 
  1. Reactions from the International Community and Myanmar Government

 
  1. International Community


 

As the circumstantial evidences came to the surface that the counter-insurgency operation of the Myanmar Army and the BGP severely infringed human rights of Rohingya Muslims, the UN, international human rights organizations along with Myanmar and international media requested independent, fair, and thorough investigation. While requesting the punishment of the people responsible, the international community urged the Myanmar government to take measures for the relief of the victims and the reconstruction of the damaged areas.

 

Human Rights Watch (HRW),[143] Amnesty International (AI),[144] Fortify Rights,[145] and Rohingya support groups[146] have been interviewing the surviving victims from Maungdaw region and the refugees who had crossed the border to Bangladesh since October 9, 2016 in person and by telephone and reporting cases of serious human rights violations, such as murder, battery, gang rape, arson, and looting of property.

 

In February 2017, the OHCHR revealed the cases of grave human rights violations based on the testimonies of two hundred surviving victims who escaped to Bangladesh. Upon the Myanmar government’s denial regarding the suspicions, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights suggested to establish and run a commission of inquiry supervised by the UN and implied that it will refer to the case to the International Criminal Court under certain circumstances.[147]

 

Yanghee Lee, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar, visited northern Rakhine in January 2017, where counter-insurgency operation was taking place, but access to several regions were not allowed due to security reasons. She could not freely interview the residents either when she visited Rohingya residential districts.[148] Afterward, Yanghee Lee visited refugee camps in Bangladesh in February 2017 and met Rohingya refugees to investigate the cases of human rights violation.[149]

 

Though the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) was not able to pass the resolution for the recommendation on the establishment of the commission of inquiry, it passed the resolution to form and dispatch an independent investigation team to Myanmar without voting.[150]

 
  1. Myanmar Government


 

The Myanmar government denied the suspicion about severe human rights violations raised by the international human rights organizations and UN reports and tried to diminish their credibility. In February 2017, the Myanmar government practically denied all the suspicions expressing their ‘deep concerns’ and requested definite evidence.[151]

 

After last October, the Myanmar government carried out investigation to find truth through four investigation committees, but the credibility and the effectiveness of the investigation is being questioned, since the construction and activities of the committees lack independency, neutrality, and expertise in human rights. First of all, Myanmar President Htin Kyaw installed a committee composed of thirteen committee members chaired by Myint Swe, a former army general in December 2016 to investigate the armed attack occurred in October 9 and November 12 to13.[152] The Investigation Committee announced the investigation results in early January in 2017. The committee denied all the allegations about the human rights violation of the Myanmar Army and the BGP arguing that there exists not sufficient evidence to take legal action.[153]

 

In addition, the Myanmar Army and the Ministry of Home Affairs established investigation committee on February 9 and 11, respectively, in 2017, and began the investigation about human rights violation committed by the army and the police.[154] However, these committees lack independency with the committee members all being soldiers and police.

 

In October 2016, the investigation committee established by Rakhine State Council conducted investigation on the attack on October 9, but they did not investigate the suspicions about serious human rights infringement against Rohingya civilians.[155] Furthermore, the neutrality of the investigation committee is questionable, as majority of eleven committee members are the Rakhine people from the Arakan National Party. In fact, Aung Win, the chairperson of the investigation committee, said in an interview with BBC that Rohingya women are too filthy to be raped.[156]

 

As State Counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi has formed the Central Committee for the Implementation of Peace and Development in Rakhine State and been taking measures on the various affairs since May, 2016.[157] Aung San Suu Kyi has also formed the Advisory Committee on Rakhine State with former UN Secretary Kofi Anan as chairperson and been looking for solutions since 2016, but the committee has not yet dealt with the affairs concerning the armed attack on October 9.[158]

 

No one has been investigated, put on trial, or punished for serious human rights violation until now. Only three police officers have been sentenced to two-month confinement in last February through an internal punishment procedure after a video of police officers battering Rohingya men in Buthidaung was exposed in December, 2016.[159]

 

Although the National League for Democracy (NLD) is currently dominating the Myanmar government, it is still doubtful if independent and fair investigation is possible for following reasons: One, the military, that is to say the Commander in Chief, has authorities to assign internal personnel, border police, and the Minister of National Defense; Two, the military has immunity from judicial action under the current constitution; Three, the judicial branch and police authorities in Myanmar are deficient in independency and expertise; And four, the investigation committees led by the Myanmar government are mostly composed of army-related people, hence the lack of expertise.

 

 
  1. Recommendations


 

In order to reinstate human rights of Rohingya civilians infringed by the Myanmar Army and the Border Guard Police after October, 2016, ADI hereby recommends the United Nations and the international community as follows:

 
  • The Myanmar government should put diplomatic efforts into conducting immediate, independent, and fair investigation on the suspicion of serious human rights violations including murder, rape, battery, and arson that took place after October 9, 2016. For this, the Myanmar government should provide working-level and financial support for the constitution and management of the fact finding committee. If the Myanmar government has no will or is unable to conduct independent and fair investigation under the current circumstances, the international community should intervene and take active measures. The installation and activities of the investigation committee, which was rejected in March, 2017 at the UNHRC, could be an alternative. The international community should also look into bringing this case to the ICC for ethnic cleansing or crimes against humanity, or installing a special international court and bringing the case there, if necessary.


 
  • The international community should provide humanitarian aid to the internally displaced people in northern Rakhine and the refugees at Bangladesh refugee camps along with the support for the rehabilitation of the surviving victims and the reconstruction of damages.


 
  • The international community should put forth the utmost diplomatic efforts so that the Myanmar government would take active measures against the hate and attacks on Rohingya Muslims proliferated across Myanmar by prohibiting and punishing ethnic discrimination.


 

 

ENDNOTES

[1] Wikipedia, Rohingya People, 28 March 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rohingya_people

[2] Jangsik Park, Rakhine Muslims(Rohingya) Dilemma Revisited: The Background and Causes of Religio-Ethnic Conflict, Southeast Asia Studies, Vol.23 No.1 (2013), at 241-58

[3] Id. at 251-3

[4] Radio Free Asia, Who are the Rohingya?, 13 April 2010, http://www.rfa.org/english/multimedia/rohingyaPage-04122010151733.html/RohingyaFactSheet-04132010102750.html

[5] See supra note 2, at 241-58

[6] Id. at 252-3

[7] Human Rights Watch, Burma: Amend Biased Citizenship Law, 13 January 2015, https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/01/13/burma-amend-biased-citizenship-law

[8] See supra note 4

[9] YuKyung Lee, Samjatta’s Cruel life, Hankyoreh 21, 8 May 2014, http://h21.hani.co.kr/arti/world/world_general/37003.html

[10] Syed Zain Al-Mahmood, Timeline: A Short History of Myanmar’s Rohingya Minority, The Wall Street Journal, 23 December 2016, http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2016/12/23/timeline-a-short-history-of-myanmars-rohingya-minority/

[11] Wikipedia, 2012 Rakhine State riots, 28 March 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Rakhine_State_riots

[12] Yola Verbruggen, Will Myanmar’s Rohingya finally become citizens in their own country?, IRIN, 7 July 2016, https://www.irinnews.org/analysis/2016/07/07/will-myanmar’s-rohingya-finally-become-citizens-their-own-country

[13] Minority rights group international, Myanmar/Burma Profile, http://minorityrights.org/minorities/muslims-and-rohingya/

[14] BBC, Documents show Myanmar Rohingya discrimination is policy, 25 February 2014, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-26333580

[15] Human Rights Watch, Living in Limbo: Burmese Rohingyas in Malaysia, Vol. 12, 4 August 2000, https://www.hrw.org/reports/2000/malaysia/maybr008-01.htm

[16] BBC, Myanmar revokes Rohingya voting rights after protests, 11 February 2015, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-31421179

[17] Jonathan Pearlman, Who are the Rohingya boat people?, The Telegraph, 21 May 2015, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/burmamyanmar/11620933/Who-are-the-Rohingya-boat-people.html

[18] Tin Htet Paing, Police chief: Assassination of U Ko Ni was driven by Personal Grudge, The Irrawaddy, 25 February 2017, https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/police-chief-assassination-of-u-ko-ni-was-driven-by-personal-grudge.html

[19] Id.

[20] Yae Khat Chaung Gwa Son is used in this report as Gwa Son.

[21] Reports of AI and OHCHR describes Wa Peik and Kyee Kan Pyin as if they were independent villages while the surviving victims described the two as one village.

[22] According to the sources, the size of the HaY differs.  While the Myanmar government said that 400 were engaged, The Irrawaddy estimated 200.  See President Office of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Brief description of the violent attacks commenced on 9th October in Maungdaw district, Rakhine State, 17 December 2016, http://www.president-office.gov.mm/en/?q=briefing-room/news/2016/12/17/id-6979; See also The Irrawaddy, Nine police dead in Arakan State border attacks, 10 October 2016, https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/nine-police-dead-in-arakan-state-border-attacks.html; and See also International Crisis Group, Myanmar: A New Muslim Insurgency in Rakhine State, Asia Report N0283, 15 December 2016, at 6

[23] Id.

[24] President Office of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Interim Report of the Investigation Commission on Maungtaw, 3rd January 2017, http://www.president-office.gov.mm/en/?q=issues/rakhine-state-affairs/id-7076  [accessed on 31 March 207]]ses, t of Arakan State human rights abuses,e fatal shooting, press release (12 October 2016), availa

[25] Id.

[26] The Global New Light of Myanmar, Security Tightened, 10 October 2016

[27] Moe Myint, Four Burma Army soldiers dead in Maungdaw clash, The Irrawaddy, 11 October 2016, https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/four-burma-army-soldiers-dead-in-maungdaw-clash.html

[28] Id.

[29] Id.

[30] Id.

[31] Frontier Myanmar, 8 killed in sure of Rakhine violence: Tatmadaw, 13 November 2016, http://frontiermyanmar.net/en/news/8-killed-surge-violence-rakhine-tatmadaw

[32] See supra note 24  [accessed on 31 March 207]]ses, t of Arakan State human rights abuses,e fatal shooting, press release (12 October 2016), availa

[33] Id.

[34] Id.

[35] Id.

[36] Id.

[37] Reuters, Burma Army says 86 killed in fighting in Arakan State, The Irrawaddy, 15 November 2016, https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/burma-army-says-86-killed-in-fighting-in-arakan-state.html; See also Feliz Solomon, Something Shocking Is Happening in Burma’s Rohingya People. Take a Look at This Timeline, Time, 21 November 2016, http://time.com/4576079/burma-myanmar-arakan-rakhine-rohingya-tatmadaw-suu-kyi/

[38] President Office of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Tatmataw ends area clearance operations in northern Rakhine, http://www.president-office.gov.mm/en/?q=issues/rakhine-state-affairs/id-7288

[39] President Office of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Brief description of the violent attacks commenced on 9th October in Maungdaw district, Rakhine State, 17 December 2016, http://www.president-office.gov.mm/en/?q=briefing-room/news/2016/12/17/id-6979

[40] International Crisis Group, Myanmar: A New Muslim Insurgency in Rakhine State, Asia Report N0283, 15 December 2016, at 12

[41] Simon Lewis, Myanmar’s Rohingya insurgency has links to Saudi, Pakistan, Reuters, 16 December 2016, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-myanmar-rohingya-idUSKBN1450Y7

[42] See supra note 40 at 12

[43] Id. at 13

[44] Id. at 17-8

[45] Id. at 13-4

[46] Id. at 17

[47] Lynn Kuok, The changing face of the conflict in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, Brookings, 28 December 2016, https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/the-changing-face-of-conflict-in-myanmars-rakhine-state/

[48] Jamestown Foundation, Myanmar's Muslim Insurgency Gaining Prominence with Jihadist Groups, Terrorism Monitor Volume: 15 Issue: 5, 10 March 2017, http://www.refworld.org/docid/58c694074.html

[49] See supra note 40

[50] See supra note 24

[51] Feliz Solomon, Something shocking is happening to Burma’s Rohingya people. Take a look at this timeline, Time, 21 November 2016, http://time.com/4576079/burma-myanmar-arakan-rakhine-rohingya-tatmadaw-suu-kyi/

[52] Antoni Slodkowski, Rohingya rebel leader challenges Myanmar’s Suu Kyi, vows to fight on, 31 March 2017, http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-exclusive-uk-myanmar-rohingya-intervi-idUKKBN1722GX

[53] See supra note 40

[54] Reuters, Burma Army says 86 killed in fighting in Arakan State, The Irrawaddy, 15 November 2016, https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/burma-army-says-86-killed-in-fighting-in-arakan-state.html

[55] Lawi Weng, Burma Army Obstructs Media Access in Northern Arakan State, The Irrawaddy, 21 October 2016, https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma-army-obstructs-media-access-in-northern-arakan-state.html

[56] The Irrawaddy, Nine police dead in Arakan State border attacks, 10 October 2016, https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/nine-police-dead-in-arakan-state-border-attacks.html

[57] Id.

[58] Id.

[59] See supra note 40 at 7

[60] Id.

[61] Id. at 6

[62] Id. at 7

[63] Moe Myint, Four Burma Army soldiers dead in Maungdaw clash, The Irrawaddy, 11 October 2016, https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/four-burma-army-soldiers-dead-in-maungdaw-clash.html

[64] ADI Interview No. 201707; ADI Interview No. 201735; ADI Interview No. 201737; ADI Interview No. 201747

[65] ADI Interview No. 201701—ADI Interview No. 201748

[66] See supra note 63

[67] See supra note 40 at 8

[68] Id.

[69] Id.

[70] ADI Interview No. 201701—ADI Interview No. 201748

[71] ADI Interview No. 201702; ADI Interview No. 201709; ADI Interview No. 201710; ADI Interview No. 201721

[72] ADI Interview No. 201701—ADI Interview No. 201748

[73] See supra note 40 at 7

[74] Id.

[75] Id.

[76] Id.

[77] Wai Moe, Dozens believed killed as violence erupts in Myanmar, The New York Times, 10 October 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/11/world/asia/myanmar-attack-rakhine.html

[78] Id.

[79] Fortyfy Rights, Myanmar: Protect Civilians in Rakhine State, Investigate Fetal Shootings, press release, 12 October 2016, http://www.fortifyrights.org/publication-20161012.html

[80] The Global New Light of Myanmar, False allegations on violating human rights exposed to the world, , 3 November 2016

[81] Human Rights Watch, Burma: Massive destruction in Rohingya villages, 13 November 2016, https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/11/13/burma-massive-destruction-rohingya-villages

[82] Id.

[83] Amnesty International, We are at breaking point, Rohingya: Persecuted in Myanmar, Neglected in Bangladesh, December 2016, at 27-9

[84] See supra note 63

[85] See supra note 61

[86] Id.

[87] Jonah Fishter, Bengali Rohingya are dirty Muslim Women, BBC, 9 November 2016,  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2dAe7nUh20&feature=youtu.be&t=13s

[88] The Irrawaddy, Have Burma Army Operations in Northern Arakan State Really Ended?, 25 February 2017, https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/have-burma-army-operations-in-northern-arakan-state-really-ended.html

[89] Id.

[90] RVision TV Correspondent, Breaking: Myanmar Armed Forces Raid Rohingya Village in Northern Maungdaw, 31 March 2017, http://www.rvisiontv.com/breaking-myanmar-armed-forces-raid-rohingya-village-northern-maungdaw/

[91] Wa Lone, Simon Lewls and Krishna N. Das, Children among hundredss of Rohingy detained in Myanmar crackdown Reuters, Reuters, 16 March 2017, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-myanmar-rohingya-detainees-exclusive-idUSKBN16N342

[92] Id.

[93] Id.

[94] Moe Myint, Death Sentence for Maungdaw Attacker Raises Questions About State Executions in Burma, The Irrawaddy, 14 February 2017, https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/death-sentence-maungdaw-attacker-raises-questions-state-executions-burma.html

[95] President Office of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Tatmataw ends area clearance operations in northern Rakhine, http://www.president-office.gov.mm/en/?q=issues/rakhine-state-affairs/id-7288

[96] Id.

[97] Id.

[98] Antoni Slodkowski, More than 1000 feared killed in Myanmar’s army crackdown on Rohingya, Reuters, 8 February 2016, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-myanmar-rohingya-idUSKBN15N1TJ; See also The Guardian, More than 1,000 Rohingya feared killed in Myamnar crackdown, say UN officials, 9 February 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/09/more-than-1000-rohingya-feared-killed-in-myanmar-crackdown-say-un-officials

[99] Human Rights Watch, Burma: Security Forces Raped Rohingya Women, Girls, 6 February 2017, https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/02/06/burma-security-forces-raped-rohingya-women-girls

[100] UNOCHA, Myanmar: Humanitarian Snapshot (3 March 2017), 20 February 2017, http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/MMR_humanitarian_snapshot_mar17.pdf

[101] USAID, Burma-Complex Emergency (12 January 2017), https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1866/burma_ce_fs01_01-12-2017.pdf

[102] Id.

[103] ADI Interview No. 201741

[104] See supra note 98

[105] The Sunday Times, Rohingya man found dead after media interview, 25 December 2016, http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/rohingya-man-found-dead-after-media-interview

[106] ADI Interview No. 201704; ADI Interview No. 201706; ADI Interview No. 201713; ADI Interview No. 201715; ADI Interview No. 201745

[107] ADI Interview No. 201701; ADI Interview No. 201702; ADI Interview No. 201717; ADI Interview No. 201722; ADI Interview No. 201730; ADI Interview No. 201731; ADI Interview No. 201743;

[108] ADI Interview No. 201710; ADI Interview No. 201714; ADI Interview No. 201716; ADI Interview No. 201725; ADI Interview No. 201736; ADI Interview No. 201737;

[109] ADI Interview No. 201705; ADI Interview No. 201707; ADI Interview No. 201709; ADI Interview No. 201712; ADI Interview No. 201719; ADI Interview No. 201720; ADI Interview No. 201723; ADI Interview No. 201726;

[110] ADI Interview No. 201703;

[111] ADI Interview No. 201701—ADI Interview No. 201748

[112] ADI Interview No. 201739

[113] ADI Interview No. 201722

[114] ADI Interview No. 201707

[115] ADI Interview No. 201715

[116] ADI Interview No. 201706

[117] ADI Interview No. 201742

[118] ADI Interview No. 201703

[119] ADI Interview No. 201717

[120] ADI Interview No. 201748

[121] ADI Interview No. 201710

[122] ADI Interview No. 201707

[123] ADI Interview No. 201707

[124] ADI Interview No. 201713

[125] ADI Interview No. 201726

[126] ADI Interview No. 201707

[127] ADI Interview No. 201716

[128] ADI Interview No. 201701

[129] ADI Interview No. 201709

[130] ADI Interview No. 201717

[131] ADI Interview No. 201702

[132] ADI Interview No. 201706

[133] ADI Interview No. 201710

[134] ADI Interview No. 201716

[135] ADI Interview No. 201713

[136] ADI Interview No. 201711

[137] ADI Interview No. 201714

[138] ADI Interview No. 201709

[139] ADI Interview No. 201719

[140] ADI Interview No. 201703

[141] ADI Interview No. 201716

[142] ADI Interview No. 201710

[143] Human Rights Watch, Burma: Massive Destruction in Rohingya Villages, 13 November 20l6, https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/11/13/burma-massive-destruction-rohingya-villages

[144] Amnesty International, Myanmar: We are at breaking point – Rohingya: Persecuted in Myanmar, Neglected in Bangladesh, 19 December 2016, https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/asa16/5362/2016/en/

[145] See supra note 79

[146] Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO), www.rohingya.org; Restless Beings, www.restlessbeings.org; Save The Rohingya, www.partners.ngo; Rohingya Blogger, www.rohingyablogger.com

[147] High Commissioner, UN Human Rights – Asia, 8 February 2017, https://www.facebook.com/UNHumanRightsAsia/videos/915323971903980/

[148] Aljazeera, UN’s Yanghee Lee denied access to Rohingya village, 15 January 2017, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/yanghee-lee-denied-access-rohingya-villages-170115074431631.html

[149] Abdul Aziz, UN envoy Yanghee Lee visits Rohingya refugee camps, Dhaka Tribune, 23 February 2017, http://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/law-rights/2017/02/23/yanghee-lee-rohingya-camps/

[150] Aljazeera, UN to probe alleged crimes against Rohingya in Myanmar, 24 March 2017, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/03/probe-alleged-crimes-rohingya-myanmar-170324113526685.html

[151] Rik Glauert, Govt Deeply Concerned by UN report of Arakan State human rights abuses, The Irrawaddy, 9 February 2017, https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/govt-deeply-concerned-un-report-arakan-state-human-rights-abuses.html; See also State Counsellor Office, Information committee refutes rumours of rape, 26 December 2016, http://www.statecounsellor.gov.mm/en/node/551; President’s Office, Fabricated stories, misleading pictures about Rakhine cause global criticism, 2 January 2017, http://www.president-office.gov.mm/en/?q=issues/rakhine-state-affairs/id-7062 ; See also Antoni Slodkowski, Aung San Suu Kyi criticised as Myanmar denies army killed Rohingya Muslims fleeing Rakhine, Reuters, 19 November 2016, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-myanmar-rohingya-idUSKBN13D255?il=0 ; See also Serajul Quadir and Simon Lewis, Myanmar ‘in denial’ over Rohingya crimes, Reuters, 7 February 2017, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-myanmar-rohingya-bangladesh-idUSKBN15L1TE

[152] State Counsellor Office, Formation of Investigation Commission, 5 December 2016, http://www.president-office.gov.mm/en/?q=briefing-room/news/2016/12/05/id-6883

[153] See supra note 24

[154] Global New Light of Myanmar, Tatmadaw releases reaction to OHCHR Report, 10 February 2017, http://www.globalnewlightofmyanmar.com/tatmadaw-releases-reaction-to-ohchr-report/; Global New Light of Myanmar, Ministry of Home Affairs issues press release, 12 February 2017, http://www.globalnewlightofmyanmar.com/home-affairs-ministry-issues-press-release-on-police-abuse-in-video-clip/

[155] The Irrawaddy, Arakan State Parliament Forms Commission to Investigate Maungdaw Attacks, 26 October 2016, https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/arakan-state-parliament-forms-commission-to-investigate-maungdaw-attacks.html

[156] Jonah Fisher, Muslim civilians killed by Burmese army, BBC, 7 November 2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-37892512

[157] See supra note 39

[158] Id.

[159] AFP, Police in Rohingya abuse video get reprimand, ‘didn't intend to harm,’ Frontier Myanmar, 8 February 2017), http://frontiermyanmar.net/en/police-in-rohingya-abuse-video-get-reprimand-didnt-intend-to-harm

 

 

 
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