• Saturday, Aug 08, 2020
  • Last Update : 05:13 pm

New documentary reveals scorched-earth campaign against Rohingya

  • Published at 09:33 pm November 24th, 2019
Myanmar army-Rakhine rebels clash
An ethnic Rakhine man holds homemade weapons as he walks in front of houses that were burnt during fighting between Buddhist Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya communities in Sittwe June 10, 2012 Reuters

Myanmar’s former chief of intelligence said, the British rulers brought labour from Bangladesh, ignoring the fact that Bangladesh was then also a part of British Empire

With the International Court of Justice (ICJ) taking up the issue of Myanmar’s brutal crackdown on Rohingya Muslims, international news channel Al Jazeera has shed new light on some of its alleged crimes.

In a video documentary released on Sunday, Al Jazeera depicted Myanmar soldiers kicking and beating captive Rohingyas. 

The video shows Rohingya villagers fleeing their homes attempting to make their way to Bangladesh. It also shows fires burning in the distance and hundreds of people hiking up muddy jungle paths and crossing rivers with sacks and baskets crammed with their belongings. Al Jazeera has shown at least two images of corpses.

In the documentary, talking to Al Jazeera, Myanmarese academic Dr Maung Zarni said: “As early as 1966 the Burmese military started to see the Rohingya as problem.” 

Through the years the Myanmar government has even set up special forces to "deal" with the: Rohingya minority.

Zarni compares Myanmar’s infamous special forces Nasaka to SS, the acronym of Schutzstaffel, a paramilitary force under Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany.  

He said, “Nasaka was essentially the Burmese equivalent of SS. Nasaka was the executioner.”

Myanmar military’s former chief of intelligence General Khin Nyunt also talked about Nasaka with Al Jazeera.

Nyunt said: “These problems with Muslims have existed since the British rule because they brought labour from Bangladesh,” ignoring the fact that Bangladesh was then also a part of British Empire.

He said: “I created Nasaka to stop people from crossing the borders. It was the right thing to do. They are migrants. They are guests from Bangladesh. We did not want to accept guests. Otherwise there are no more Rakhines. Just more and more Muslims.”

More than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since a 2017 crackdown by Myanmar's military, which UN investigators say was carried out with "genocidal intent." Buddhist majority Myanmar denies accusations of genocide.

Gambia, a mainly Muslim West African state, lodged a lawsuit with ICJ after winning the support of the 57-nation Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC). 

Days after Gambia filed the case at the ICJ, Rohingya and Latin American human rights groups submitted a lawsuit in Argentina under "universal jurisdiction," a legal premise that deems some crimes as so horrific that they can be tried anywhere in the world.

Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi is expected to defend her military against allegations of genocide at the ICJ. 

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