Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed last November to begin repatriating Rohingya who volunteer to return to Rakhine state, where the persecuted Muslim minority have lived for generations. "New bases are being erected to house the very same security forces that have committed crimes against humanity against Rohingya".
Burmese security forces stand accused of mass rape, killings and arson against civilians in scores of Muslim villages in the wake of an attack by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on military and police outposts on Aug 25, 2017. Called Remaking Rakhine and elaborated through analysis of satellite images, photographs, videos and interviews with Rohingya in Myanmar and neighbouring Bangladésh, where y flee, report assures that landscape of that Burmese western state, with Not only houses, but also trees and vegetation devastated, is "unrecognizable" in contrast to a few months ago.
"In some instances there has been the destruction of existing homes".
Since August 2017, the Buddhist-majority nation has reportedly driven almost 700,000 members of the besieged community into neighboring Bangladesh, as part of a wildly indiscriminate military crackdown the worldwide community has called ethnic cleansing. The government has denied burning down villages to drive out the Rohingya.
Satellite imagery of one village called Kan Kya on the outskirts of Rakhine's Maungdaw town taken two months after the August attacks shows a settlement scarred by fire. In one case, Rohingya villagers who had remained in Myanmar were forcibly evicted to make way for a base, it said. Myanmar, which impedes entry into Rakhine of independent United Nations researchers or human rights organizations, has in past argued that its need to reinforce security and invest in infrastructure in that area responds to need to make In face of threat posed by ARSA, which it considers a terrorist group.
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"People are in a panic", one refugee in Bangladesh, who fled his village in January, told the rights watchdog.
"What we are seeing in Rakhine State is a land grab by the military on a dramatic scale".
Spokespeople for the government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and the military were not immediately available for comment. "As this region is behind in development, we are rebuilding systematically".
The images also show new refugee reception centres surrounded by security fences and close to a heavy presence of military, raising concerns that Burma is preparing to restrict the freedom of Rohingya supposedly returning home to safety.