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This joint report is based on evidence gathered by Rohingya civil society groups in Cox’s Bazar District, Bangladesh about ongoing human rights violations in Rakhine State. The report is based on evidence collected from January to May 2020 about human rights violations including killings and violence and other persecution and restrictions.

The joint report was written by the following groups: Arakan Altruism Society and Educational Network (AASEN); Rohingya Peace Initiative (RPI); Rohingya Students Network (RSN); Rohingya Students’ Union (RSU); Rohingya Women Empowerment and Advocacy Network (RWEAN); Rohingya Youth Association (RYA); Rohingya Youth for Legal Action (RYLA); and Rohingya Women for Justice and Peace (RWJP).

Human Rights Violations

Since the International Court of Justice issued provisional measures order for Myanmar in January 2020, Rohingya from northern Rakhine State have lived in constant fear of extortion, destruction of business, arrest, shooting, murder, killing and torture by the security forces. Civil society groups from the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh receive reports about the following human rights violations on a continuous basis.

Killings and Violence

While Rohingya people in northern Rakhine State lack personal security and protection from the government for years, the situation is exacerbated by the conflict between Arakan Army (AA) and Tatmadaw. The conflict has been occurring for more than one year and has resulted in many deaths, burnings of Rohingya villages, destructions of home and property, displacements, and sexual violence. Although the ICJ ordered Myanmar to protect the Rohingya from further atrocities and to take measures to preserve any evidence related to the violations and allegations, civil society in the camp documented the following cases. Some of the cases also involve killings and human rights violations against ethnic Rakhine villagers.

  • On 7 January 2020, at least four to eight people were killed in Teik Tu Pauk village in Buthidaung Township as result of shelling. The villagers living in that are documented the event. After the attack, Tatmadaw soldiers came to the village and threatened the villagers that they would burn the village to the ground if local people publicize the attack.
  • A shelling explosion killed Rohingya people in Buthidaung Township on 25 January 2020. While it was reported in international media that two people were killed, Rohingya civil society groups in the Cox’s Bazar’s camps received information that as many as eight were killed including a pregnant woman. Like many other documented cases, it remains unclear who is responsible for the shelling as Tatmadaw blamed the AA and vice versa.
  • On 29 January 2020, two Rohingya home from Sali Prang village, Maungdaw township were burnt to the ground, reportedly by Tatmadaw.
  • On 31 January 2020, video footage of the torture of two Rohingya women emerged. In the video, people are shouting that the perpetrators are from the AA. Rohingya media contacted the victims and reported the incident. The incident occurred in Hpa Yar Pyin Thein Tan village, Buthidaung Township.
  • A 15-years-old Rohingya boy was killed and two others were wounded by shelling in Taung Bwe village, Kyauktaw Township:
  • In February 2020, three Rohingya, including a-year-old baby, were killed by shelling in Tha Yet Pyin, Buthidaung Township.
  • On 18 February, a Rohingya man in his fifties died from landmine explosion in San Goe Taung village, Rhathidaung Township.
  • On 13 February 2020, more than 21 students were injured by military armaments in Kammie Kaung village, Buthidaung Township.
  • On 26 February, a Rohingya man died from landmine explosion in Nyaung Chaung village by the Myanmar military.
  • At least five and a maximum of eleven Rohingya, including a 12-years-old boy, were killed by shelling by Myanmar military in Bu Ta Lone village, Mrauk U Township.
  • On 6 March 2020, a Rohingya young man named Sayed Alom was shot dead while he was fishing, reportedly by BJB.
  • On 10 March, one Rohingya teenager and five others were killed by landmine in Paung Toke Ywar Gyi village, Mrauk U Township.
  • On 14 March 2020, at least three displaced were killed and 30 injured as Tatmadaw fired arms in Kyauktaw Township, Tarsi village .
  • On 15 March 2020, a 25-years-old Rohingya man from no man’s land between Myanmar and Bangladesh border was killed in landmine planted by Tatmadaw.
  • On 16 March 2020, 21 villagers were killed and more than two dozen were injured while Myanmar military fighter jets opened on four villages in Paletwa Township at the border of Chin State and Rakhine State.
  • ‌On 30 March 2020, two Rakhine people were killed and three Rakhine people injured from landmine explosion in San Thay Pyin village, Maung Daw Township.
  • On 5 April 2020, five innocent Rohingya died during an attack between the AA and the Myanmar Military in Bu Ta Long village in Mrauk U Township.
  • ‌On 14 April 2020, eight people were killed by shelling in Rakhine State in Kyauk Seik village in Ponnagyun Township.
  • ‌On 13 April 2020, nine villagers were killed by Tatmadaw’s firearms, and more than 20 people injured in Kyauk Seik village, Ponnagyun Township.
  • ‌On April 8 2020, more than four villagers injured in Kyauk Seik village.
  • ‌On April 8 2020, seven villagers were killed and more than two dozen injured while Myanmar military fighter jets opened on four villages in Paletwa Township at the border of Chin State and Rakhine State.
  • On 18 May 2020, in Buthidaung Township, Poyon Lek village , one innocence Rohingyawas injured by Myanmar military shooting around 5 a.m.. When father of Injured people tried to bring him to Buthidaung Township hospital, the authorities didn’t allow it.
  • Rohingya from Pan Khi village, Buthidaung Township are reportedly living in fear following the murder of Md Edires. Md Edires, a former chairman, was killed by unknown perpetrators. It is said that many villagers fled away from the village after the current chairman started accusing that the Rohingya killed the former chair.
  • Recently, security forces detained three men who were carrying pots and food and accused them of being members of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA). The three men were extorted 100,000 kyats each in Kyi Nu Thi village, Buthidaung township.
  • A young man was beaten by a Rakhine group after returning from Malaysia in order to bring his family out of Myanmar to Bangladesh. It is reported that the man paid 4,000,000 Kyats to the local office in Tang Bazaar to have his safety granted. However, shortly after the money was paid, the man was beaten up by a Rakhine gang and was brought to a hospital in Buthidaung Township. He died soon after.
  • On 18 February 2020, 19-years-old Muhammad Roshid Khan was reportedly killed by a mob while he and two friends were traveling to Paung Htoke village, in Mrauk U to gain access to the internet. His two friends escaped.

Recently Myanmar has tried to show it is following the Myanmar provisional measures but is still implementing harmful polices that persecute the Rohingya. For example:

When the world facing challenges with COVID 19, the Myanmar government ordered the release of innocence Rohingya throughout the country. Many were in jail for years. More than 800 Rohingya released from prisoners were sent to quarantine for COVID-19 before being sent back to their homes in Rakhine State. The government made them take National Verification Cards (NVCs) by saying they are “illegal immigrants” from Bangladesh. The NVC does not grant allow Rohingya to self identify and strips us of access to full citizenship rights.

Restrictions on Freedom of Expression and Information

Freedom of expression and freedom of information are interrelated. Freedom of expression includes the right ‘to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority.’ In February 2020, the Myanmar government imposed internet restriction in Buthidaung, Maungdaw, Rhathidaung, and Myebon townships in Rhakhine State and in Paletwa in Chin State. Other towns have been subjected to the internet restriction since 20th June last year. The three townships, namely, Rathidaung, Maungdaw and Buthidaung are home to the Rohingya population in Rakhine State as well as former home to the refugees who fled to Cox’s Bazar District Bangladesh in 2016 and 2017.

The internet ban which cuts the Rohingya community off from the rest of the world is exacerbating the situation of the Rohingya and prevents information from being reported. Media access to these three townships in northern Rakhine State has never been permitted in a realistic manner. The cut of information in Rakhine State makes the local communities harder to reach for the international community whenever they need help. Rohingya who attempt to gain an access to internet by crossing other areas are targeted.

Documented Cases from January to May 2020

Our organizations documented 54 cases of human rights abuses. Because of the internet restrictions, it was very difficult to document the abuses. We believe the number is much higher.

0131.01.2020Female HpaYarPyinButhidaungRakhineTorture 
0231.01.2020Female HpaYarPyinButhidaungRakhineTorture 
0425.01.2020Female20KintaungButhidaungRakhineDeathPregnant woman
0510.02.2020Male15TaungbweKyauk TawRakhineDeath 
0926.02.2020Male25Pura PraungButhidaungRakhineDeath 
1006.03.2020Male13PingPaungToeMrauk URakhineDeath 
1831.01.2020Male HpaYarPyinButhidaungRakhineInjury 
1931.01.2020Male HpaYarPyinButhidaungRakhineInjury 
2005.02.2020Male33Sar Goe TaungButhidaungRakhineInjury 
2110.02.2020Male<10TaungBweKyauk TawRakhineInjury 
2210.02.2020Male<10TaungBweKyauk TawRakhineInjury 
2506.03.2020Male15PingPaungToeMrauk URakhineInjuryOrphan
2606.03.2020Male13PingPaungToeMrauk URakhineInjury 
2706.03.2020Male16PingPaungToeMrauk URakhineInjury 
2806.03.2020Male11PingPaungToeMrauk URakhineInjury 
2914.03.2020  Me Sa(1) and (2) villagesPo Hla Oa and Sa Mee TownshipsRakhineInjury 
3014.03.2020  Me Sa (1) and (2) villagesPo Hla Oa and Sa Mee TownshipsRakhineInjury 
3113.03.2020  At hospitalKyauk Taw & Mrauk U TownshipsRakhineDeath 
328. 04.2020   Po HlaRakhineDeath 
338. 04.2020   Po HlaRakhineInjury 
3405.04.2020  Bu Ta Long villageMrauk URakhineDeath 
3516.03.2020  Four villagesPaletwaChinDeath 
3616.03.2020  four village Paletwa Township , Chin StatePaletwaChinInjury 
3708.04.2020 30 37 32 18 AingRakhineDeath & injury 
3810.04.2020 52 14Oe Tha leeMrauk URakhine  
3913.04.2020  Kyauk Seik villagePonnagyunRakhineInjury 
4013.04.2020 11 24 25 26 15 15 16 23Kyauk Seik villagePonnagyunRakhineDeath 
4116.04.2020 12 50 60 14 52 19   Injury 
4221.04.2020 31 MinbyaRakhineDeath 
4322.04.2020Female Female Female Female25 4 22 49 PaletwaChinDeathBy weapons
4422.04.2020Male Male  PaletwaChinInjuryArtillery Strike
4522.04.2020Male Male PA Phyu village tractMinbyaRakhineDeath & injury 
4622.04.2020  On Rahoung BridgeMinbyaRakhineDeath & injuryHad gone by car
4722.04.2020Male  MinbyaRakhineDeathInnocent person killed by the military
4824.04.2020Female5Kah Mee Chaung villageButhidaungRakhineDeath & injuryFire shot
4929.04.2020Male Thasekun village tractRathedaungRakhineInjury 
5001.04.2020 to 30.04.2020    RakhineDeath & injuryBombing
5105.05.2020Male48Rakine state Kyaw tauk township,Yaung Chaung village tract  DeathBombing
5209.05.2020Male Male Taung swe village tractKyauk TawRakhineInjuryWhen the victims were out of their houses
5307.05.2020Female Female36Aye Tha village tractMinbyaRakhineInjury 
5412.05.2020Female Male Female10 15 12Shah kee Muslim village tract and Pun Yun lay village tractButhidaungRakhineDeath & injuryBombing
Documented Cases from January to May 2020

The report jointly prepared by:

  1. Rohingya Students’ Union
  2. Rohingya Peace Initiative
  3. Rohingya Student’s Network
  4. AASEN
  5. Rohingya Women Empowerment and Advocacy Network
  6. Rohingya Youth Association
  7. Rohingya Youth for Legal Action