Watchdogs issued a report on Wednesday amidst the rising Rohingya refugee crisis, stating that Myanmar security forces slit the throats of Muslim Rohingyas and burnt the victims alive. The report cited mounting evidence of genocide against the minority group.
Rohingyas are stateless Indo-Aryan people from Rakhine state in Myanmar, and are categorised as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. Around 40,000 Rohingyas have settled in India.
Ever since the latest flare-up of violence against the community in Myanmar this year, nearly 4 lakh Rohingyas have fled the state, pouring into nearby countries like Bangladesh in search of refuge.
The latest report released by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Southeast Asia-based Fortify Rights documents "widespread and systematic attacks" on Rohingya civilians between October 9 and December of last year, and from August 25 of this year.
The latest string of violence in Myanmar's northwestern Rakhine state began on August 25 when Rohingya insurgents reportedly attacked various police posts and an army base. A military counter-offencive and clashes led to a loss of at least 400 lives and initiated an exodus of the villagers in the region to Bangladesh.
The 30-page report titled "They tried to kill us all" is based on more than 200 interviews with survivors and eyewitnesses, as well as international aid workers working with the Rohingyas.
The United Nations has already described the incidents in Myanmar's Rakhine as "ethnic cleansing," and has asked the country's leader Aung San Suu Kyi to take immediate steps to reinstate the refugees into their homes.
Fortify Rights and the Holocaust Museum gathered evidence in the report, which demonstrates that "Myanmar state security forces and civilian perpetrators committed crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing" ring two waves of attacks in the majority Buddhist nation."
It adds: "There is mounting evidence to suggest these acts represent a genocide of the Rohingya population."
The report also says the practices of the country's military to wipe out the Rohingyas from the region is "a mechanism to commit mass atrocities."
"State security forces opened fire on Rohingya civilians from the land and sky. Soldiers and knife-wielding civilians hacked to death and slit the throats of Rohingya men, women, and children," it says.
"Rohingya civilians were burned alive. Soldiers raped and gang-raped Rohingya women and girls and arbitrarily arrested men and boys en masse."