Rohingya Muslims held in open-air detention camps in Myanmar's Rakhine State since 2012 have been subjected to "institutional oppressions" and "grave rights violations," according to a new report by an international rights group.
About 130,000 Rohingya Muslims have been confined to the camps since being displaced in a 2012 campaign of ethnic cleansing by Myanmar's military, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement on Saturday.
It said the Myanmar government has created "squalid and oppressive conditions" for the Rohingya refugees that "amount to the crimes against humanity of apartheid, persecution, and severe deprivation of liberty."
The report, titled An Open Prison without End: Myanmar's Mass Detention of Rohingya in Rakhine State, is based on over 60 interviews with Rohingya, Kaman Muslims, and humanitarian workers, and will be released next week, according to the statement.
HRW urged the Myanmar government, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, "to lift all arbitrary movement restrictions for Rohingya, Kaman, and other minorities, and end the apartheid regime against Rohingya in Rakhine State."
Referring to recent measures by Myanmar authorities, it said the move "to 'close' the camps appear designed to make permanent the Rohingya's segregation and confinement."
'World's most persecuted people'
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 burned down, while 113,000 others vandalized, it added./aa