UN: Myanmar's Rohingya at risk of new human catastrophe

UN: Myanmar's Rohingya at risk of new human catastrophe
The UN has warned Myanmar against sending more troops to the Muslim-majority Rakhine state, as reports emerge of alleged murder, rape and torture by authorities.
2 min read
13 August, 2017
The last time reprisal attacks happened, tens of thousands fled the country [AFP]

A UN human rights representative has expressed concern over the deployment of hundreds of troops to Myanmar's Muslim-majority Rakhine province.

Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee said allegations of human rights violations were being investigated after 500 troops were flown in and a curfew was established.

"This development, which reportedly took place yesterday, is a cause for major concern," said the UN special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee.

"There have been increasing reports of incidents affecting the local population, including the killings of six Mro villagers on 3 August," she added.

Lee warned of a repeat of last October's extreme violence, which saw thousands of Muslims killed and tens of thousands flee their homes. The violence was said to be in revenge for the deaths of nine police officers allegedly at the hands of Rohingya Muslim protesters.

The Myanmar government blamed Muslim "extremists" for the murder of six Buddhist civilians on 3 August, leading to violent reprisal attacks against the country's Rohingya minority.

The UN reports that security forces has, for at least ten days, allegedly shot villagers at random, raped Rohingya women and burned down houses.

Eleven men armed with swords attacked a village chief while he was holding a village leader meeting on 10 August.

On Wednesday, the UN issued a "precautionary security notification" to the approximately 300 international NGO and UN workers working in Rakhine province, warning of an escalation in violence by the Buddhist population.

"Rumour and misinformation will continue to be used to fuel anti-UN and INGO sentiment and hostility and elevate anxieties," it said.

"As usual heightened vigilance and the immediate reporting of any security-related information are recommended."