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Myanmar soldiers committed widespread rape of Rohingya women, girls: HRW Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Myanmar soldiers committed widespread rape of Rohingya women, girls: HRW

More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since August

Date of publication: 16 November, 2017

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In a 37-page report titled, "All of my body was pain", HRW documents the use of mass rape by Myanmar's security forces in what amounts to "crimes against humanity".
Myanmar's security forces have committed widespread rape against women and girls as part of a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine State, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.

In a detailed report, Human Rights Watch highlighted how troops gathered Rohingya women and girls into groups and gang-raped them. Women described witnessing murders of their children or spouses before being attacked.

More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since August describing accounts of murder, rape and arson committed by Myanmar's army during a military crackdown. The onslaught has been described by the UN as a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing".

Human Rights Watch described the abuses as "crimes against humanity".

There have been hundreds of rape cases reported by relief organisations working with refugees in Bangladesh.

Of the 29 rape survivors interviewed, all but one were gang-raped by two or more perpetrators. In eight cases, women and girls reported being raped by five or more soldiers.

Two thirds of the survivors had not reported their rape to authorities or other humanitarian organisations, suggesting that the figure is significantly higher.

"Rape has been a prominent and devastating feature of the Burmese military's campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya," said Skye Wheeler, women's rights emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch and author of the report.

"The Burmese military's barbaric acts of violence have left countless women and girls brutally harmed and traumatised." 

Myanmar's authorities have continued to deny the growing documentation. In September, the Rakhine state border security minister rejected the reports saying: "Where is the proof? Look at those women who are making these claims – would anyone want to rape them?"

On Wednesday, the results of an internal investigation conducted by the military was released, clearing themselves over the reported Rohingya atrocities, leading to calls made by US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, for a "credible" investigation. 

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