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Myanmar Soldiers Exploited Women: HRW

Photo: The New Arab

Human Rights Watch said that Myanmar’s security forces raped women and girls as part of a campaign of ethnic cleaning against Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine State.

HRW underlined how troops gathered women and girls into groups and gang-raped them. Women even said that they witnessed murders of their spouses or children before being attacked.

Since August, more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh. HRW called the abuses as ‘crimes against humanity’.

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 have not reported their rape to authorities.

“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.”

Meanwhile, Myanmar’s authorities have refused the act. 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?”

An internal investigation conducted by the military was released on Wednesday, which cleared themselves over the reported atrocities. However US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has called for a ‘credible’ investigation.

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