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ARSA says Amnesty allegations unjustifiable, careless

  • Published at 10:18 pm May 25th, 2018
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Screenshot of the statement posted by ARSA on its Twitter account on Friday, May 25, 2018

The insurgent group based in Rakhine, Myanmar issued a statement in response to an Amnesty report on Friday

The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) has categorically denied the allegations of severe human rights violations raised by Amnesty International, accusing the global human rights watchdog of making “unjustifiable and careless serious criminal accusations” against the group.

In a statement issued on its Twitter page Friday evening, signed by ARSA Commander-in-Chief Ataullah Abu Ammar Jununi, the insurgent group said they were appalled to learn that the Amnesty report titled “New evidence reveals Rohingya armed group massacred scores in Rakhine State,” released on Tuesday, consists of “serious criminal accusations against ARSA.” 

“We would like to draw the special attention of the International Community to the fact that the sole purpose of our movement is to defend, salvage, and protect the Rohingya community in Arakan with our best capacities as we have the legitimate rights under international law to defend ourselves in line with the principle of self-defence,” the statement read.

It said ARSA did not “commit any form of attack against any innocent civilians regardless of their religious and ethnic origin.”

“We do not even attack Rakhine extremists, those who participated in killing Rohingyas, looting our properties and setting fire to our houses together with the Burmese Terrorist Army, let alone harming or killing any member of the Hindu community (that shares the same language and culture with us) from Arakan [Rakhine] State,” it further read. “It is illogical and unreasonable for any Rohingya to commit any crime against a Hindu who is not killing or attacking Rohingyas.

“We are ready at all times to cooperate with any credible international investigation mission or agency which has the full mandate to investigate as to whether these alleged crimes were committed by ARSA, the Burmese Terrorist Government and Burmese Terrorist Army, or Rakhine extremists.”

Acknowledging Amnesty's “tremendous efforts in advocating human rights across the world,” ARSA said the watchdog should be given the opportunity to present its witnesses and evidence to prove the allegations it has raised against ARSA. 

“If it is proven otherwise, Amnesty International should be responsible for taking part in manipulating the international community and [raising] false criminal accusations against ARSA,” the statement said.