The horrific use of rape by Myanmar's armed forces, both sweeping and methodical, as found out by The Associated Press (AP) while interviewing Rohingya women, is appalling. It must, however, be remembered that this is not the first time that such atrocities—that can only be described as war crimes—by the Myanmar armed forces have come to light. There is, in fact, no dearth of similar accounts from Rohingya women and girls even, which simply goes to show that the Myanmar armed forces have indeed, consciously and systematically, been attempting to carry out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingyas at the very least.
Ever since the latest round of Rohingya exodus from Myanmar began, newspapers in Bangladesh and a section of the global media have repeatedly reported how Rohingyas were subjected to brutal and humiliating treatment and torture, and widespread sexual violence, including indiscriminate rapes. Moreover, thousands of Rohingyas have testified to witnessing mass killings by the Myanmar armed forces. After all this, how some countries can deny the severity of the Myanmar army's crimes is perplexing. We understand that all countries have their own geopolitical interests in every matter. However, what is difficult to fathom is how that can supersede the most basic humanitarian aspects that Myanmar has clearly violated.
The overwhelming evidence that has come out till now, including the latest findings of AP, completely nullifies the Myanmar government's ongoing denials of the widespread atrocities that have been committed against the Rohingyas by its armed forces. Most importantly, such atrocities cannot go unpunished.
The crimes committed against the Rohingyas must be addressed through the international criminal justice system, as Myanmar authorities have showed themselves to be completely unfit for that role, through its continuous denials.