In the four months since the Myanmar military began a crackdown after Rohingya militants attacked an army base and police posts on August 25, around 655,000 members of the stateless Muslim minority have fled the western state of Rakhine and crossed into neighbouring Bangladesh.
A Reuters graphic makes use of data from the UN Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT) to show hundreds of villages in Rakhine state that were once inhabited by the Rohingya, but have now been burned down. A total of 354 villages have either been completely or partially destroyed, Human Rights Watch said on December 18.
The data, which was gathered from August 25, the day of the Rohingya militant attack, to November 25, shows burned settlements in an area stretching 110 km from the green hills of Rakhine’s northern tip to beaches near the state’s capital Sittwe in the south.
Top officials in the United Nations and United States have described the Myanmar military’s crackdown as ethnic cleansing. Myanmar has denied human rights abuses, saying its military is engaged in legitimate counter-insurgency operations.
The military exonerated itself of all accusations of atrocities in an internal investigation, which published its findings on November 13. Myanmar’s civilian government has said that the burnings were carried out by Rohingya militants and the Rohingya themselves.
Myanmar’s military did not respond to Reuters’ questions about its role in the alleged atrocities against the Rohingya described in this graphic.
THE ROHINGYA CRISIS
Burned to the ground
For nearly 200 years, Rohingya Muslims have lived alongside Buddhists in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state, despite generations of ethnic tensions. A military crackdown after an Aug. 25 Rohingya militant attack, caused around 655,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh, and has left much of northern Rakhine burnt-out and empty. A Myanmar military investigation released on Nov. 13 cleared security forces of all accusations of atrocities. The United Nations has denounced the crackdown as a classic example of ethnic cleansing. Myanmar’s military did not respond to Reuters’ questions about its role in the atrocities against the Rohingya described in this graphic.
View the info graphic: http://fingfx.thomsonreuters.