By Betul Yuruk
Myanmar military forces have committed widespread rape as part of a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State in the past three months, Human Rights Watch said in a report released from New York on Thursday.
The “‘All of My Body Was Pain’: Sexual Violence Against Rohingya Women and Girls in Burma,” report revealed the Myanmar military’s rape of Rohingya women and girls, and further acts of violence, torture, cruelty, and humiliation.
“Rape has been a prominent and devastating feature of the Myanmar military’s campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya,” Skye Wheeler, author of the report, said.
“The Burmese military’s barbaric acts of violence have left countless women and girls brutally harmed and traumatized.”
The organization interviewed 52 Rohingya women and girls who fled to Bangladesh, 29 of whom said they had been raped and three of the girls were under 18. Many women described witnessing the murders of their children, spouses, and parents, the report said.
Myanmar soldiers -- almost all military personnel -- raped women and girls, Human Rights Watch found out.
One of the teenaged victims said soldiers had stripped her naked and dragged her from her home where 10 soldiers raped her.
Humanitarian organizations working with refugees in Bangladesh have reported hundreds of rape cases. Many rape victims reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or depression, and untreated injuries, the report added.
Myanmar authorities have rejected the growing documentation of sexual violence by the military.
Human Rights Watch called on the U.N. Security Council to force the government of Myanmar and impose sanctions on military leaders responsible for human rights violations, including sexual violence.
Since Aug. 25, the military clampdown in Rakhine has seen security forces and Buddhist mobs kill men, women, and children, including babies, according to the UN. Rohingya homes have been looted and villages torched. Army has committed killings, tortures and rapes forcing more than 617,000 Rohingya to flee to bordering Bangladesh.
In September, Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali said around 3,000 Rohingya had been killed in the crackdown.
In a recent report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.
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.