Human Rights Watch yesterday alleged that Myanmar government was obstructing international efforts to investigate the crimes committed against the Rohingyas.
The New York-based rights organisation also urged donors and governments concerned to press Myanmar to ensure justice to the Rohingyas.
The remarks came two days before the second anniversary of the military crackdown on the Rohngyas in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.
On August 25, 2017, Myanmar military began a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingays.
HRW also suggested in its statement that the Security Council and other governments should impose or expand targeted sanctions on Myanmar’s military leaders and key military-owned enterprises.
The sanctions should include travel bans, asset seizures, and restrictions on access to financial institutions, as well as a comprehensive military embargo, the list of suggestions added.
Criticising Myanmar, HRW stated that neither did the government of the country act to improve conditions of Rohingyas nor did it address the causes behind the crisis.
“Two years since the Myanmar military carried out ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya population, the government still denies its troops committed any atrocities,” said Phil Robertson, deputy director of HRW Asia, in the statement issued from Bangkok.
In the statement, he also said a United Nations-backed Fact-Finding Mission found sufficient information to warrant the investigation and prosecution of senior military officials for grave crimes, including genocide.
“The bulldozing of Rohingya homes to destroy evidence after the ethnic cleansing is emblematic of the government’s campaign to whitewash its crimes.”
An estimated 500,000 Rohingyas remain in appalling conditions in Rakhine State. Security forces have confined them to camps and villages and severely restricted their freedom of movement, the statement read.
Myanmar government has denied fundamental freedoms to Rohingyas and deprived them of access to sustainable livelihoods and basic humanitarian services including adequate food, medical care, and education, the statement added.
The Myanmar government also restricted access to Rakhine State by news media and aid workers and since June 21 has imposed an internet blackout across nine townships, including one in Chin State, the HRW statement read.
The disruption of internet services has increased difficulties for humanitarian agencies and human rights groups to assist vulnerable people in the face of increased fighting in the area.
The government should not use broad, indiscriminate shutdowns to curtail the flow of information, or to harm civilians’ ability to assemble freely and express political views, the rights organisation urged.
The government of Myanmar should immediately amend its discriminatory 1982 Citizenship Law to provide Rohingyas equal access to Myanmar citizenship. The government should also take necessary steps to ensure the security of the Rohingya population from abusive security forces and other groups, HRW added.