Mission Report of OHCHR Rapid Response Mission to Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

1. Summary of findings

Credible information gathered indicates that the destruction of Rohingya villages in northern Rakhine State, and other serious human rights violations committed in the aftermath of the 25 August attacks, were executed in a well-organised, coordinated, and systematic manner. The information reveals that these human rights violations were committed against the Rohingya population in northern Rakhine State by the Myanmar security forces often in concert with armed Rakhine Buddhist individuals.

The manner in which the villages, home and property of the Rohingya across northern Rakhine State has been destroyed points to it being well-organised and coordinated, thereby challenging the assertion that it was merely collateral damage of the military security operations following the alleged attack against police outposts and on a regimental headquarters across locations in northern Rakhine State, allegedly by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).

Credible information indicates that the Myanmar security forces purposely destroyed the property of the Rohingyas, scorched their dwellings and entire villages in northern Rakhine State, not only to drive the population out in droves but also to prevent the fleeing Rohingya victims from returning to their homes. The destruction by the Tatmadaw of houses, fields, food-stocks, crops, livestock and even trees, render the possibility of the Rohingya returning to normal lives and livelihoods in the future in northern Rakhine almost impossible. It also indicates an effort to effectively erase all signs of memorable landmarks in the geography of the Rohingya landscape and memory in such a way that a return to their lands would yield nothing but a desolate and unrecognizable terrain. Information received also indicates that the Myanmar security forces targeted teachers, the cultural and religious leadership, and other people of influence in the Rohingya community in an effort to diminish Rohingya history, culture and knowledge.

This report also highlights that prior to the incidents and crackdown of 25 August, a strategy was pursued to: 1) Arrest and arbitrarily detain male Rohingyas between the ages of 15-40 years; 2) Arrest and arbitrarily detain Rohingya opinion-makers, leaders and cultural and religious personalities; 3) Initiate acts to deprive Rohingya villagers of access to food, livelihoods and other means of conducting daily activities and life; 4) Commit repeated acts of humiliation and violence prior to, during and after 25 August, to drive out Rohingya villagers en masse through incitement to hatred, violence and killings, including by declaring the Rohingyas as Bengalis and illegal settlers in Myanmar; 5) Instil deep and widespread fear and trauma – physical, emotional and psychological, in the Rohingya victims via acts of brutality, namely killings, disappearances, torture, and rape and other forms of sexual violence.

Download full report HERE.

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