The United Nations committees for women’s and children’s rights say atrocities against Rohingya Muslims “at the behest of the military” in Myanmar may constitute crimes against humanity.
The committees on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and on the Rights of the Child said in a statement on Wednesday that the violations being committed against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine “may amount to crimes against humanity.”
“We are particularly worried about the fate of Rohingya women and children subject to serious violations of their human rights, including killings, rape and forced displacement,” said the statement.
“Such violations may amount to crimes against humanity and we are deeply concerned at the state’s failure to put an end to these shocking human rights violations being committed at the behest of the military and other security forces,” it added.
The Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar have faced government-sanctioned violence by soldiers and Buddhist mobs since October 2016. The violence has seen a sharp rise since August
Over 500,000 Rohingya Muslims have so far taken refuge in Bangladesh and some 10,000 others, who have reportedly amassed near a crossing point into the country, are trying to join them in makeshift camps over the border.
The fleeing Muslims says the Myanmarese army has increased pressure on the remaining Rohingya to drive them out of their villages.
An elderly Rohingya man, who has arrived in Bangladesh said military forces “are burning our houses, beating our people. Out of fear, we villagers ran in different directions as they attacked. Many of our relatives and villagers are still missing. Somehow we reached here, to save our lives.”
Another Rohingya women said, “The military tortured us, they tortured us so much. They looted our belongings. I left my home, with only one piece of clothing, the one that I am wearing now.”
According to rights groups, more than half of the over 400 Rohingya villages in the north of Rakhine State have been torched.
Myanmarese state media, meanwhile, claim that the fleeing Rohingya have left “of their own accord.”
The government refuses to recognize the Muslim community as a distinct ethnic group and considers them illegal refugees from Bangladesh.