“Allegations of human rights violations committed by the Myanmar security forces are credible and alarming,” U.N. Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet said in a statement Monday. In the ensuing days, the U.N. added, it has received reports of “the burning of villages, extrajudicial killings, serious injury and killings of civilians, people being sexually assaulted by security forces and mass arbitrary arrests.” The group said it has received very little information from the government, despite the fact that the Myanmar government holds regular news conferences. “The Government needs to immediately begin a serious investigation into these allegations,” the statement continued. “There are currently large numbers of internally displaced people displaced in Rakhine State, and any action by Myanmar’s authorities to infringe on their right to return will bring further humanitarian suffering and further risk of further violence.”
More than 400,000 people have fled to Bangladesh after widespread violence in Rakhine state in 2016. Despite an agreed timeline to begin repatriating those people, Bangladesh has taken few steps to pull the process out of the ground. The violence was ignited in late August last year when Rohingya militants attacked police posts, sparking a military counteroffensive that Burmese military claimed was largely waged with local Buddhists. Instead, the government and the U.N. have said, the actual number of those killed in the military operation was far higher than it originally claimed.
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