27 Oct 2012

New Buddhist Violence against Rohingya in Burma

The government of Burma should take immediate steps to stop sectarian violence against the Rohingya Muslim population in Arakan State, in western Burma, and ensure protection and aid to both Rohingyas and Arakanese in the state, Human Rights Watch said today. New satellite imagery obtained by Human Rights Watch shows extensive destruction of homes and other property in a predominantly Rohingya Muslim area of the coastal town of Kyauk Pyu – one of several areas of new violence and displacement.


Human Rights Watch identified 811 destroyed structures on the eastern coastal edge of Kyauk Pyu following arson attacks reportedly conducted on October 24, 2012, less than 24 hours before the satellite images were captured. The area of destruction measures 35 acres and includes 633 buildings and 178 houseboats and floating barges adjacent on the water, all of which were razed. There are no indications of fire damage to the immediate west and east of this zone of destruction. Media accounts and local officials said that many Rohingya in the town fled by sea toward Sittwe, the capital of Arakan State, 200 kilometers to the north.
Violence renewed between Arakan Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims on October 21 and continued all week in at least five townships: Minbya, Mrak-U, Myebon, Rathedaung, and Kyauk Pyu. This was the first time violence had reached Kyauk Pyu and most of these other parts of the state since the sectarian violence and related abuses by state security forces against the Rohingya began in early June. The Rohingya have suffered the brunt of the violence.

Human Rights Watch - Satellite imagery here (PDF)