SHAFAQNA – The Rohingya Muslims, who fled persecution in Myanmar, recount their ordeals back at home, where they were subject to torture, rape and violence by the military.
Upon arrival in Bangladesh, Rohingya refugees are rushing to build more shelters at the unregistered Balukhali camp in Cox’s Bazar on the country’s south coast, Reuters reported on Friday.
The site is currently hosting around 1,100 families, but the number is growing day by day as more flee across the border.
Akhtara, a 16-year-old Rohingya Muslim, said she was raped and tortured by four military personnel inside her home in Myanmar.
Another refugee, Siddique Ahmed, said Myanmar’s military had killed his elder brother, nephew and grandson last November.
Since October 2016, Myanmarese forces have been carrying out a military crackdown in Rakhine State, where the Rohingya community is mainly based, following a raid on a police post that was blamed on Rohingya-linked militants.
In a report last month, Reuters cited two UN officials dealing with refugees fleeing violence as saying that some 1,000 Rohingya Muslims may have been killed in Myanmar’s army crackdown on the minority group.
More than 70,000 Rohingya have since fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh, according to UN.
Meanwhile, a leader of the Rohingya refugees staying in the Bangladesh camp said they submitted their demands to the Myanmar Investigation Commission who visited them a few days ago.
He called on the Myanmarese government to accept them as citizens and for those behind the crimes against the Muslim minority group to stand trial at an international court.
Myanmar classifies Rohingya Muslims as stateless or non-citizens, a status which strips them of the right to education, work or social services.
Rights groups have cast doubts on the impartiality of several investigative commissions set up by Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to look into the crimes against the Rohingya.
On Friday, the top United Nations human rights body agreed to send an international fact-finding mission to investigate widespread allegations of killings, rape and torture by security forces against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
However, the council stopped short of calling for the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry – the world body’s highest level investigation – into the situation of the Rohingya despite a call by Yanghee Lee, the UN’s special rapporteur on rights in Myanmar.