(Reuters) – Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) have confirmed reports of horrific atrocities committed against Rohingya Muslim refugees, who fled a state-sponsored ethnic cleansing campaign at home in Myanmar.
Rohingay survivors, who live in refugee camps in southern Bangladeshi port city of Cox’s Bazar, told the doctors what they have been through at the hands of military forces, who torched their villages and forced them out of their home country.
In a report, seen by Reuters, US-based PHR said all the accounts of being shot, hacked and wounded by explosives in Myanmar are supported by evidence.
“All the forensic examinations and medical records were highly consistent with the histories that the survivors described,” said the report, which will be published later this month.
It focused on the refugees from the village of Chut Pyin, where the military forces fired on civilians, raped women and burned homes, Reuters cited survivors and Rohingya from neighboring villages.
“Chut Pyin exemplifies the campaign of violence that Myanmar authorities have carried out against the Rohingya people” and “should be investigated as crimes against humanity,” said the report.
Of the 25 Chut Pyin survivors examined by PHR, 22 had physical injuries, according to the report.
The Rohingya Muslims based in Myanmar’s Rakhine State have been subjected to a campaign of killings, rape and arson attacks by the military backed by the country’s majority Buddhist extremists in what the UN has described as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”
The brutal campaign has forced some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee their homeland since August 2017 and seek refuge in Bangladesh.
Human rights group Amnesty International released a comprehensive 190-page document last week, saying it has “a mountain of evidence” that the state-sponsored violence against the Muslim population “was part of a highly orchestrated, systematic attack.”
It called for the United Nations Security Council to refer the military officials, including top commanders, to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity and impose a “comprehensive arms embargo” on the country and financial sanctions on its senior officials.
The Rohingya, who have lived in Myanmar for generations, are denied citizenship and are branded illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, which likewise denies them citizenship.