Alwaght- The Myanmarese regime is using a policy of forced starvation to make life unbearable for the minority Rohingya Muslim community, a UN rights expert revealed on Monday.
"There appears to be a policy of forced starvation in place, designed to make life in northern Rakhine unsustainable for the Rohingya who remain," Yanghee Lee, UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
"Before repatriation can be really considered, Myanmar must break the cycle of violence in Rakhine, recognize the Rohingyas’ right to self-identify, restore their citizenship, and uphold their human rights," Lee said.
The villages that were once home to Rohingya who fled to Bangladesh have been bulldozed to the ground, said Lee.
"Just yesterday, new satellite imagery has revealed that military bases are being constructed in these bulldozed areas," he added.
Lee said the crimes committed by Myanmar authorities especially in the wake of October 2016 and Aug. 25, 2017 -- when a military crackdown began -- "bear the hallmarks of genocide and call in the strongest terms for accountability".
Lee also warned of new offensives in the states of Kachin and Kayin, east of Rakhine.
"Not only does the Myanmar government have a responsibility to account for the alleged crimes in Rakhine state since October 9, 2016, and August 25, 2017, and the violations that continue today, but the international community must also be vigilant," Lee said.
Since Aug. 25, 2017, more than 750,000 refugees, mostly children, and women have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community.
The refugees are fleeing a military operation in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages.
At least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in Rakhine from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24 last year, according to Doctors Without Borders.
The Rohingya Muslims, one of the most persecuted communities in the world, are not recognized as citizens of Myanmar and face widespread discrimination from the authorities.
Prior to the current exodus, tens of thousands of Rohingya have already been living as refugees in several neighboring countries.