Myanmar building military bases in burnt Rohingya villages

Who's calling the shots for the Rohingya people?

The largest of the new bases is in the village of Ah Lel Chaung in Buthidaung Township, where eyewitnesses said that the military forcibly evicted Rohingya people from certain areas to make way for construction.

"Not only does the Myanmar government have a responsibility to account for the alleged crimes in Rakhine state since October 9, 2016, and August 25, 2017, and the violations that continue today, but the global community must also be vigilant", Lee said. "New bases are being erected to house the very same security forces that have committed crimes against humanity against Rohingya", said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International's Crisis Response Director.

A human rights group says Myanmar is building bases on land where the homes and mosques of Rohingya Muslims once stood.

While Myanmar's government hasn't officially commented on the latest report, Amnesty cited a statement from officials, according to which the villages are being bulldozed to accommodate returning refugees.

Htin Lynn, Myanmar's permanent representative to the Geneva, rejected Lee's remarks, called on the Council to fire her, and said that Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi is committed to human rights, the news agency reported.

"It is unreasonable to assert that our leadership, whose mission has human rights at its core, remains indifferent to the allegations of grave human rights violations", he said, insisting that the government was "ready to take action where there is clear evidence".

Burma is allegedly building military bases on top of razed Rohingya villages, raising questions over the safety of hundreds of thousands of persecuted refugees who are due to be repatriated.

A man walks past the entrance of a camp set up by Myanmar's Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Minister to prepare for the repatriation of displaced Rohingyas, who fled to Bangladesh, outside Maungdaw in the state of Rakhine, Myanmar January 24, 2018.

A United Nations special envoy has said the military operations bear the hallmarks of genocide, which Myanmar denies.

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

Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed a repatriation plan in January that would see the most recent arrivals returned to Myanmar within two years.

"I have heard that local majority people threatened them and didn't let them buy their products", he said.

Immigration officials have tallied 290 returnees so far and ordered village heads to help them resettle. Authorities have launched an operation to rapidly expand security infrastructure across Rakhine State, including bases to house the military and Border Guard Police, as well as helipads.

Monday's findings follow a report published by Human Right Watch last month, which found that the military was bulldozing Rohingya villages that were either burnt down or abandoned last summer. Translated by Khet Mar.

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