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Amnesty International Releases Evidence of 'Ethnic Cleansing' By Burmese Forces

A burned house is seen in a village in Maungdaw in the north of Rakhine state in Burma on September 12.

Amnesty International says it has gathered evidence of an “orchestrated campaign of systematic burnings” by Burmese security forces and "vigilante mobs" targeting dozens of Rohingya Muslim villages -- a campaign the human rights group describes as “ethnic cleansing.”

“The evidence is irrefutable,” Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Director Tirana Hassan said about the humanitarian crisis in Burma (also known as Myanmar).

“The Myanmar security forces are setting northern Rakhine State ablaze in a targeted campaign to push the Rohingya people out of Myanmar,” Hassan said. “Make no mistake: This is ethnic cleansing.”

“There is a clear and systematic pattern of abuse here,” Hassan said. “Security forces surround a village, shoot people fleeing in panic, and then torch houses to the ground. In legal terms, these are crimes against humanity -- systematic attacks and forcible deportation of civilians.”

Amnesty International says its evidence includes analysis of active fire-detection data, satellite imagery, photographs and videos from the ground, and interviews with dozens of witnesses in Burma and across the border in Bangladesh.

The United Nations estimates as many as 400,000 Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh since an August 25 coordinated attack by Rohingya militants on Burmese border posts.

Burma’s military blames the burning of villages on Rohingya militants.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres previously expressed concerns about possible “ethnic cleansing” against the Rohingya.

Amnesty International’s findings, released on September 15, include some of the most specific evidence that Rohingya areas are being targeted by Burmese security forces.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP
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