Rape by Command: Sexual violence as a weapon against the Rohingya

This report documents the widespread, systematic use of sexual violence by the Myanmar Army during its brutal “clearance operation” in northern Rakhine State in the second half of 2017. This operation has driven over 680,000 Rohingya villagers into Bangladesh.

Testimonies of 36 refugees, eight of whom are rape survivors, provide evidence that government troops raped well over 300 women and girls in or near at least seventeen villages across Maungdaw and northern Buthidaung townships, as well as in Maungdaw town, during the operation. With over 350 villages attacked and burned at this time, this number is likely only a fraction of the actual total of women raped.

In the weeks before the official launch of the operation on August 25, thousands of Myanmar Army troops were deployed from existing military camps in Rakhine State, and from central Myanmar, to reinforce Border Guard Police posts throughout northern Rakhine State. These troops were the main perpetrators of sexual violence, at every stage of the operation.

Before the start of the operation, the troops committed rape during security patrols and “anti-terror” raids in remote rural areas, where many men had gone into hiding for fear of arrest and torture. In two villages alone in northern Buthidaung, six women and one six-year-old girl were gang-raped by government troops in the weeks before August 25. However, the majority of rape incidents, involving hundreds of women, took place during the actual attacks starting on August 25, when large numbers of troops entered villages shooting indiscriminately, torturing and killing civilians, and burning houses. Women and girls were caught and raped in their houses, as they were running away, or after being rounded up in large groups in or near the villages; some were horribly mutilated. In the village of Tula Toli (Min Gyi) in northern Maungdaw, survivors estimate that well over one hundred women and girls were raped during the attack; many were also killed.

Download full report HERE.

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