Landmines deadly for fleeing Rohingya HRW

first_imgThe Myanmar security forces have laid landmines during attacks on villages and along the Bangladesh border, posing a grave risk to Rohingya Muslims fleeing atrocities, Human Rights Watch said in a press release on Saturday.The Myanmar government should immediately stop using antipersonnel landmines and join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty.“The dangers faced by thousands of Rohingya fleeing atrocities in Burma are deadly enough without adding landmines to the mix,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director.“The Burmese military needs to stop using these banned weapons, which kill and maim without distinction.”According to witness accounts, independent reporting, and photo and video recordings, Burmese soldiers have in recent weeks laid antipersonnel landmines at key crossing points on Myanmar’s border with Bangladesh.Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that Burmese military personnel also planted mines on roads inside northern Rakhine state prior to their attacks on predominantly Rohingya villages.The Myanmar government has accused the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) of using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) against infrastructure and security forces.Two Rohingya refugees from inner areas of Rakhine state, one from Buthidaung and another from Rathedaung township, told Human Rights Watch they saw the Myanmar military laying antipersonnel mines on roads as the military entered and attacked villagers.“Mohammad,” 39, said he saw a neighbour’s son step on one of the mines laid by the military. The mine blew his right leg off.On 4 September 2017, a landmine detonated on a path used by many refugees near the hamlets of Taung Pyo Let Yar, about 200 meters from the Bangladesh border.Human Rights Watch witnessed smoke arising from the hamlets, suggesting burning by the military that caused villagers to flee.The next day, three Rohingya men were wounded in three separate landmine explosions near the same border point.Two Rohingya refugees told Human Rights Watch that men in apparent Myanmar military uniforms were seen in the northern part of Taung Pyo Let Yar performing some activity on the ground prior to the 4 September explosions.One described watching a Myanmar military patrol on the road near the border on the morning of 4 September.From a vantage point in so-called no-man’s land, he observed several soldiers from the patrol stop at least twice, kneel down on the ground, dig into the ground with a knife, and place a dark item into the earth.Since late August, Myanmar security forces, following a coordinated attack by ARSA militants, have carried out a campaign of ethnic cleansing involving mass arson, killing, and other abuses against the Rohingya population, causing the flight of more than 420,000 people to neighboring Bangladesh.Human Rights Watch has called on members of the United Nations Security Council to hold a public meeting and adopt a resolution that condemns the Burmese military’s ethnic cleansing campaign and threatens to impose further measures, including targeted sanctions on military leaders and an arms embargo.last_img

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