Amnesty International had reported fresh evidence of violations amid ongoing military operation in Rakhine state and some 5,200 civilians had been displaced since December.
Myanmar security forces had shelled villages and blocked civilians from accessing food and humanitarian assistance in Rakhine state, the organization said on Monday amid a crackdown since armed attacks by the ‘Arakan army’ in early January.
Security forces had also used vague and repressive laws to detain civilians in the area.
‘These latest operations are yet another reminder that the Myanmar military operates without any regard for human rights. Shelling inhabited villages and withholding food supplies are unjustifiable under any circumstances,’ said director of Crisis Response at Amnesty International Tirana Hassan.
Amnesty International had received reports that army divisions involved in atrocities against the Rohingya in August and September 2017 had been deployed to Rakhine state again in recent weeks.
‘Despite international condemnation of the Myanmar military’s atrocities, all evidence suggests that they are brazenly committing yet more serious abuses,’ said Tirana Hassan.
These violations came after a UN Fact-Finding Mission called for criminal investigation and prosecution of senior Myanmar officials for crimes under international law against the Rohingya population in Rakhine state and against ethnic minorities in Kachin and northern Shan states.
On Myanmar’s Independence Day on January 4, an ethnic Rakhine armed group known as the Arakan army carried out coordinated attacks on four police posts in northern Rakhine state, reportedly killing 13 police officers.
The Arakan army had fought the military as part of an alliance of armed groups in northern Myanmar and, as it had moved its attention to Chin and Rakhine state in recent years, had clashed sporadically with security forces there.
Days after the 4 January attacks, Myanmar’s civilian government instructed the military to launch an operation to ‘crush’ the Arakan army, which the government spokesperson referred to as a ‘terrorist organisation’.
According to the United Nations, more than 5,200 men, women and children had been displaced by the ongoing fighting by 28 January.
They were overwhelmingly from predominantly Buddhist ethnic minorities, including the Mro, Khami, Daingnet and Rakhine.
Amnesty International interviewed by telephone 11 people affected by the fighting as well as humanitarian officials and local activists in Rakhine state.
Most said that they fled their villages after the security forces shelled nearby or placed restrictions on food.
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