Amnesty International says it has strong evidence that the Myanmar army committed crimes against humanity in northern Rakhine State.
A new report published by the global rights group on Wednesday details mass killings, rape, torture and forcible transfers of Rohingya Muslims in the army’s ongoing campaign against fighters from the persecuted minority.
Amnesty has called for the UN Security Council to impose an arms embargo on Myanmar and set targeted sanctions against senior officials.
The reports says hundreds of thousands of Rohingya men, women and children have been “the victims of a widespread and systematic attack”, and that “Myanmar’s security forces unleashed an attack against the Rohingya population in its entirety.”
The army’s Western Command was responsible for some of the worst violations, it says.
The Amnesty report, based on about 150 witness accounts, satellite data, and photo and video evidence, is the most detailed and comprehensive analysis to date since Rohingya refugees began pouring into Bangladesh in late August.
Efforts to reach the Myanmar government were unsuccessful.
‘No pictures, no words can explain Rohingya plight’
Officials have previously denied any systematic violence against the Rohingya, who they consider as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
Laura Haigh, Amnesty’s Myanmar researcher, says the crimes they documented were similar to the army’s abuses against other ethnic minorities in Myanmar, including the Kachin, Shan and the Palaung.
“There are common threads here: A military that is completely unaccountable, often out of control, and impunity that breeds further impunity,” she told Al Jazeera.
“And it’s time for that to stop.”
The violence in Buddhist-majority Rakhine erupted after an armed group known as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) attacked at least 30 security posts on August 25.
An estimated 582,000 refugees have now fled Myanmar and thousands more are continuing to make the perilous journey on foot to the country’s border with Bangladesh, the UN said on Tuesday.