Srinagar: The New York-based global rights body has identified 40 villages with building destruction occurring in October and November, increasing the total to 354 villages that have been partially or completely destroyed since 25 August 2017, media reports said on Monday.
During this period, thousands more Rohingyas fled Myanmar and arrived in Bangladesh.
“The Burmese army’s destruction of Rohingya villages within days of signing a refugee repatriation agreement with Bangladesh shows that commitments to safe returns were just a public relations stunt,” reports quoting Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch said.
“The satellite imagery shows what the Burmese army denies that Rohingya villages continue to be destroyed. Burmese government pledges to ensure the safety of returning Rohingya cannot be taken seriously.”
Human Rights Watch has used satellite imagery to assess and monitor over 1,000 villages and towns in the townships of Maungdaw, Buthidaung, and Rathiduang, where the Burmese military and vigilantes have engaged in attacks on Rohingya.
Human Rights Watch found that the damage patterns in the 354 affected villages are consistent with burning occurring in the weeks after the military operations began in late August.
Of the 354 affected villages, at least 118 were either partially or completely destroyed after 5 September– the date the Burmese State Counsellor’s office announced as the end of clearance operations.
Of the 40 new villages with building destruction identified by Human Rights Watch, 24 were destroyed in October, 11 in November, and 5 over both months.
The latest documented arson attacks occurred between 25 November and 2 December in four villages.