US State Dept Human Rights report is released 2017

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The highlights are:

In Rakhine State, following the August 25 coordinated attacks by ARSA, security forces, aided in some cases by vigilantes, reportedly committed arbitrary and unlawful killings against Rohingya villagers throughout northern Rakhine State. On August 30, in Tula Toli Village (also known as Min Gyi), security forces assigned to the army’s Western Command reportedly committed a massacre. One report indicated that all male Rohingya villagers who had not fled ahead of the military’s arrival, as well as some women and children, were unlawfully executed. The military and some government officials denied such abuses occurred and took no steps to seek accountability for the perpetrators.

The United Nations, media, human rights groups, and Bangladesh border authorities reported security forces planted land mines along the border of Bangladesh in northern Rakhine State in September, with some suggesting the mines were planted to prevent Rohingya refugees from returning. Sources alleged at least nine internally displaced persons (IDPs) died from wounds characteristic of landmine injuries while fleeing northern Rakhine State to Bangladesh.

In the weeks prior to the August 25 attacks, there were reports police arrested Rohingya men from 15 to 40 years old without charges or warrants due to purported links to ARSA, and several of those detained reportedly were not heard from since. Family members who went to police stations to inquire about their disappeared relatives’ whereabouts were not provided with any relevant information. On August 21, military soldiers and police officers reportedly arrested 10 persons from Tha Man Thar Village in Maungdaw Township. The military later released four and told family members of the other six that police knew nothing about their whereabouts. After August 25, the pace of enforced disappearances reportedly increased. The military and some government officials denied such abuses occurred and took no steps to seek accountability for the perpetrators.

In January a mobile phone video taken by a member of the security forces during clearance operations in northern Rakhine State in November 2016 and posted on YouTube showed police beating civilian Rohingya. The government launched an investigation into police misconduct. Police reportedly prosecuted four persons and demoted one officer for the abuses recorded in the video, but details regarding the results of any investigation were not made public.

There were widespread reports of rapes of Rohingya women, children, and at least one man in northern Rakhine State by military forces and Border Guard Police. Most documented rapes were gang rapes, and many were mass rapes. The UN special representative on sexual violence assessed sexual violence was used as a calculated tool of terror aimed at the extermination and removal of the Rohingya as a group. One woman from ChutPyin Village (also known as Shoppara) reported five soldiers raped her on August 26, the day before her village was burned by security forces. She reported soldiers stabbed her in the side with a knife during the rape while threatening to shoot her. Authorities failed to conduct a credible investigation into these allegations.

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