A report published by Amnesty International on Monday stated that it had documented a brutal “scorched earth” campaign against the Rohingya Muslim minority and concluded that Myanmar may be guilty of crimes against humanity.
Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Director for South-East Asia and the Pacific, said in a statement that the Myanmar military targeted Rohingya civilians “in a callous and systematic campaign of violence.
“The deplorable actions of the military could be part of widespread and systematic attack on a civilian population and may amount to crimes against humanity,’’ Djamin said.
Attacks on security forces in northern Rakhine state in October prompted a sweeping crackdown on the persecuted population and the army is accused of killing and raping civilians as well as burning down their homes.
State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi was hosting informal talks with ASEAN foreign ministers in the commercial capital of Yangon to discuss the crisis.
Tens of thousands of Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh following the violence.
A 32-year-old Rohingya woman named Fatima told the rights group three soldiers raped her in a paddy field.
“I don’t remember what happened next because I fell unconscious, I woke up early the next morning, I could not get up so I crawled across the paddy field,’’ she said.
The government denied the allegations, defending the military’s actions as “clearance operations” to root out Rohingya militants.
However, Spokesman Zaw Htay could not immediately be reached for comment.