About 24,000 Rohingyas were murdered and 18,000 women and girls were raped forcing most of the ethnic minority community members to flee from their homes in Rakhine State of Myanmar to Bangladesh as Myanmar security forces launched crackdown on August 25, 2017, revealed a study.
The study conducted by a five-country research consortium and released in London on Thursday said that 82 per cent of the 3,300 Rohingyas interviewed in Cox’s Bazar camps said that they either witnessed killing of their neighbours or saw bodies before fleeing to Bangladesh.
It said that 59 per cent said that they witnessed neighbours who were raped by Myanmar security forces and their cronies.
Most of the Rohingya people sought citizenship, justice for persecution, recognition of ethnicity and deployment of UN peacekeeping forces as preconditions for their repatriation to Myanmar, said a release.
The consortium consisting researchers and organisations from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Philippines and Norway launched the report entitled ‘Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience,’ which revealed findings from 3,300 Rohingya household principal members interviewed during January 2018 from 33 zones where most of the post-August 2017 forcibly displaced population was residing.
The researchers extrapolated the findings to the population of 128,205 families of the target population of about 650,000 Rohingyas living in make-shift camps in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh who came after August 25, 2017.
Given the denial of access to Rakhine to reporters or investigators, accounts of survivors are the best guide to the reality of what occurred during the latest military crackdown that began on August 25, 2017 in Myanmar, the researchers said.
An estimated 43,000 Rohingyas sustained gunshot injuries, 36,000 were thrown into fire and 116,000 were beaten as 97 per cent of participants reported witnessing their neighbours being injured by Myanmar authorities.
The study said that 85 participants reported witnessing the burning down of their own or neighbours’ homes.
The research also provided evidence of an extremely high degree of destruction of livelihoods and criminal activities against Rohingyas, including burning down homes, damaging crops, snatching money, vandalising business enterprises, robbing houses and etc.
The 3,300 Rohingya household principal members interviewed said that their households left $2.5 million in cash in Myanmar. This means that the 650,000-population left about $100 million in cash in Myanmar, said the study
Over 79 per cent Rohingyas were willing to return to Myanmar as soon as possible, while about 97 per cent demanded recognition of Rohingya ethnicity, 96 per cent sought citizenship as preconditions for their repatriation to Myanmar.
The study said that 96 per cent Rohingyas demanded justice for prosecution and crimes committed against Rohingyas and 93 per cent wanted UN peacekeeping force deployment in Rakhine as a precondition for their repatriation.
The research revealed that Rohingyas, generally poor, were subject to systemic widespread bullying, discrimination, socio-economic and political exclusion and had negligible access to health and human services in Myanmar.
Laetitia van den Assum, a former member of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State popularly known as Kofi Annan Commission, delivered her speech at the function via an internet video link from the Hague in Netherlands.
She said that the situation of Rohingyas was ‘one of the major international issues of our time’ with components like growing nationalism, ethnic and religious intolerance and hatred, marginalisation and alleged crimes against humanity.
Mohammad Sufiur Rahman, immediate-past Bangladesh ambassador to Myanmar shared his in-country experience in dealing with the crisis for three in 2014-2017.
Lead researchers Mohshin Habib and Salahuddin Ahmad presented the key findings.
About 7,00,000 Rohingyas, mostly women, children and aged people, entered Bangladesh fleeing unbridled murder, arson and rape during ‘security operations’ by Myanmar military in Rakhine, what the United Nations denounced as ethnic cleansing and genocide, beginning from August 25, 2017.
The ongoing Rohingya influx took the number of undocumented Myanmar nationals and registered refugees in Bangladesh to about 11,16,000, according to estimates by UN agencies and Bangladesh foreign ministry.
Bangladesh and Myanmar were engaged in a slow process of preparations with the UN agencies for starting repatriation of Rohingyas.
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