Myanmar ends clearance operations in Rakhine state
Nay Pyi Taw, Feb 16 (IANS) The Myanmar government concluded “clearance operations” in Rakhine state, where the military had imposed a four-month blockade which prompted the UN to warn of possible crimes against humanity, the media reported on Thursday.
The attack on three border posts last October in Maungdaw, bordering Bangladesh, which was subsequently attributed to Rohingya Muslim insurgents, led to the military’s reprisal campaign, Efe news reported.
Human rights organisations have since denounced numerous rapes, tortures, robberies, house burnings and executions perpetrated by the uniformed men against the Rohingya minorities.
However, the Myanmar Armed Forces and the government, led by de facto Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, have denied the allegations and claim that the military’s actions comply with the law.
“The situation in northern Rakhine has now stabilised. The clearance operations undertaken by the military have ceased, the curfew has been eased and there remains only a police presence to maintain the peace,” said National Security Advisor Thaung Tun on Wednesday.
The National Security Advisor also reiterated the government’s commitment to investigating the allegations of abuses, which have not been clarified so far.
“There can be no excuse for excessive force, for abuses of fundamental human rights and basic criminality. We have shown that we are ready to act when there is clear evidence of abuses,” Thaung said on Wednesday in front of diplomats and representatives of the UN.
According to official figures, the number of deaths among the Rohingya after the military operations is around 100, a figure that falls short according to the evidence collected by non-governmental organisations.
During the security operations, the military blocked the entry of independent media, as well as humanitarian aid, thereby preventing an independent investigation.
More than a million of Rohingya live in Rakhine state, where they have faced discrimination since the outbreak of sectarian violence in 2012, which left at least 160 people dead and some 120,000 confined to 67 camps.