Myanmar Is Building Military Bases on Torched Rohingya Villages, Rights Group Says

Myanmar is building military bases on the sites of destroyed Rohingya villages, according to Amnesty International, raising doubts over plans to repatriate hundreds of thousands of refugees forced from their homes.

Amnesty said Myanmar's "reshaping" of the region where the Rohingya lived appeared to be created to accommodate more security forces and non-Rohingya villagers, and could deter refugees from agreeing to return.

Evidence of Myanmar's ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya minority continues to mount as Amnesty International revealed the Burmese military is now conducting a "land grab" of areas where the besieged community used to live. Amnesty believes they are part of a new base for security forces.

"This makes the voluntary, safe and dignified return of Rohingya refugees an even more distant prospect", said Hassan.

"Not only are their homes gone, but the new construction is entrenching the already dehumanizing discrimination they have faced in Myanmar", Hassan added.

(COMBO) This handout image of a satellite photograph released by Amnesty International and DigitalGlobe on March 12, 2018 shows new structures and fencing built over the previously burnt village of Kan Kya in Myanmar's Rakhine State. The exact death toll can not be confirmed since Myanmar's government restricts obstructs reporters from covering the ongoing crisis in Rakhine State.

Lee, who was informed late a year ago that her access to the country was denied, also expressed serious concern that "the repressive practices of previous military governments were returning as the norm once more" in Myanmar, describing the situation faced by civil society across the country as "increasingly perilous".

"Complicity is a very serious issue", Lee told reporters, adding though that she still had "a little element of hope that she will put her foot down and say once and for all let's stop this".

The quest for accountability, she said, "must be aimed at the individuals who gave the orders and carried out violations against individuals and entire ethnic and religious groups".

"The external review should assess whether the United Nations and worldwide community could have prevented or managed the situation differently that occurred regarding the Rohingya and in Rakhine State, and make recommendations for accountability if appropriate", she said.

She said the UN-backed investigation should be based out of Bangladesh and should work for three years to "collect, consolidate, map, analyse and maintain evidence of human rights violations and abuses". Similar building activity was also detected in Inn Din village, where Myanmar has admitted that its security forces took part in the killings of 10 Rohingya residents in September.

She said against this background, the peace process appeared to be losing its momentum.

"Myanmar authorities have announced willingness to receive refugees back".

Vanessa Coleman