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Monday 17 June 2019

Burma investigates 10 bodies found in grave in Rakhine

Rohingya Muslims fleeing into Bangladesh (AP)
Rohingya Muslims fleeing into Bangladesh (AP)

Burma's military says a forensic investigation has begun after 10 bodies were found in a mass grave in Rakhine state, where security forces have carried out a brutal crackdown against the Rohingya Muslim minority.

Local officials said they were investigating the 10 unidentified bodies found on Monday near a cemetery in Inn Din village.

More than 630,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since security forces in neighboring Burma launched a violent crackdown against them on August 25, turning it into Asia's worst refugee crisis in decades.

The United Nations and the US accuse Burma's military of human rights violations against Rohingya in Rakhine, including killings, rapes and the burning of homes. The UN has condemned the violence as ethnic cleansing.

International aid group Doctors Without Borders said last week that a field survey had found at least 6,700 Rohingya Muslims were killed between August and September in the crackdown.

Rights groups blame the government and military for being unwilling to investigate possible wrongdoing by officials and have urged the government to accept the assistance of international investigators.

"It's critical they (the government) accept the assistance of impartial, independent investigators and allow them to immediately travel to Inn Din to probe what happened and make a full report," said Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Asia Division.

The military said in a statement that legal action would be taken against the perpetrators.

Burma's government has informed UN Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee that it is denying her all access to the country for the rest of her tenure, the UN's human rights agency said.

Ms Lee had been due to visit in January to look into alleged human rights abuses against Rohingya in Rakhine.

She said in a statement: "This declaration of non-co-operation with my mandate can only be viewed as a strong indication that there must be something terribly awful happening in Rakhine, as well as in the rest of the country."

Ms Lee adding that she hopes the government will reconsider.

Press Association

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