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UNION OF MYANMAR: Rakhine attacks mark a dangerous escalation in violence

31 Aug 2017
[International Secretariat]
Topic: Indigenous people Minority group

Responding to the attacks by Rohingya militants in Myanmar which left at least 32 people, including 11 security personnel, dead, Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Campaigns Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

“These attacks are a dangerous escalation in violence and could put ordinary people in Rakhine State at risk, in particular as tensions have been reaching a boiling point in the region recently. We urge all sides to show the utmost restraint and ensure that ordinary people are protected from human rights violations and abuses.

“The investigation into these criminal acts must be prompt, thorough and effective, and comply with international human rights standards. Any prosecutions must respect fair trial rights and not result in the death penalty.

“This cannot lead to repeat of last year’s vicious military reprisals responding to a similar attack, when security forces tortured, killed and raped Rohingya people and burned down whole villages. Although the government has an obligation to protect people, this cannot be seen as giving the army a blank cheque to commit atrocities against parts of the population.

“It is crucial that the government makes every effort to address the long-standing and systematic discrimination in Rakhine State, which has left people trapped in a cycle of violence and destitution. As a first step, authorities must push forward with implementing recommendations outlined in the recent report by the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State.”

Background information

At least 71 people, including 12 members of the security forces, were killed in Myanmar’s troubled northern Rakhine state after Rohingya militants attacked border police early Friday morning, ushering in the bloodiest day of fighting since conflict broke out last year.

The fighting exploded around Rathedaung township, where there has been a buildup of Myanmar troops over recent weeks following reports of murders by shadowy groups and an exodus of refugees across the border to Bangladesh.

Some 20 police posts across the north of the state came under attack in the early hours of Friday by hundreds of insurgents, some carrying guns and using homemade explosives, Myanmar’s military said.

25 August 2017

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