With the latest confessions by two defecting Myanmar soldiers that they were on orders to exterminate all Rohingya Muslims, it is more difficult for the international society to “bury their heads in the sand,” a campaign group said Wednesday.
London-based Burma Human Rights Network’s Executive Director said the latest development would change the perception the Myanmar government has tried to paint — Rohingya are liars.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Kyaw Win said they are “very excited by the news of two defecting soldiers arriving in The Hague.”
“Their testimony may prove invaluable in the pursuit of justice for the Rohingya,” he said.
Win said: “For years Burma has tried to paint the Rohingya as liars and agitators and having someone from within the army speak the truth should help significantly to erase that hateful talking point.
“With this development, it is now even more difficult for the international community to bury their heads in the sand and ignore the atrocities that happened to the Rohingya. Our hope is that justice is a little closer now than it was yesterday.”
Two members of Myanmar’s military have admitted to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to perpetrating atrocities against minority Rohingya Muslims in the country’s western Rakhine State, a statement from an international rights group claimed Tuesday.
“Both men separately claimed to be acting on orders from senior commanders to ‘exterminate all [Rohingya],’ to ‘shoot all that you see and that you hear,’ and to ‘kill all’ Rohingya in specific areas,” Fortify Rights said in a statement.
According to the statement, Fortify Rights obtained two videos of the confessions of Private Myo Win Tun and Private Zaw Naing Tun.
The ICC is yet to confirm the arrival of the soldiers in The Hague.
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, pushing the number of persecuted people in Bangladesh above 1.2 million.
Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).
More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the OIDA report titled Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience.
As many as 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down while 113,000 others vandalized, it added.