Myanmar army building on burnt Rohingya villages, rights group says

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A United Nations investigator also confirmed the satellite images, while the Myanmar ambassador in Geneva said bulldozing is created to prepare for return of those who fled.

Myanmar are building security bases on top of razed Rohingya villages, said Amnesty International on Monday, accusing authorities of a "land grab".

The village demolitions and evictions of Rohingya that are still in Rakhine - it is estimated that by August y lived around one million - to give room to new constructions have multiplied since beginning of year, says AI.

"The military is not only building security force bases and roads but also bulldozing everything including house, trees, landmarks and even graveyards", said Mohammad Ali, a Rohingya resident of Buthidaung town in northern Rakhine.

"This makes the voluntary, safe and dignified return of Rohingya refugees an even more distant prospect".

Myanmar rejects that term, saying it was responding to attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army in late August.

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While Myanmar's government hasn't officially commented on the latest report, Amnesty cited a statement from officials, according to which the villages are being bulldozed to accommodate returning refugees.

Almost 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have crossed the border since last August, clearing forests and camping on hillsides already crowded with more than 300,000 refugees from previous waves of migration.

Amnesty said the developments in Rakhine were likely to signal further persecution when the Rohingya refugees return. "Only 51 have arrived today, which are still at border checkpoints and will be transferred to a temporary camp in Teknaf [Cox's Bazaar]", he warns.

Myanmar and Bangladesh reached a deal in November to repatriate those who fled. "What we are seeing in Rakhine is an occupation of land by military on a dramatic scale".

The report comes on the heels of a similar investigation published by Human Rights Watch in February, in which the organization alleged Myanmar's forces were demolishing Rohingya villages in order to erase any proof of human rights abuses that may have been committed in Rakhine. But the process stalled as both Myanmar and Bangladesh could not complete the initial process for repatriation of the displaced people. The last step of Beijing initiative, which invests in projects of a different nature in Rakhine, is to find a long-term solution based on developing state, one of most depauperados in country.

Rakhine state has been largely sealed off from rights groups, the media and United Nations investigators.

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