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Myanmar army ends operation in Rakhine State

17 February 2017, 01:41 | Taylor George

Rohingya Muslims pass time near their shelter at a refugee camp outside Sittwe

Rohingya Muslims pass time near their shelter at a refugee camp outside Sittwe

Myanmar's national security counsellor declares the army has completed its four-month counter insurgency operation in troubled Rakhine state, where it had been blamed of rape, torment and other exploitations against Muslim Rohingya minority inhabitants.

The government led by Nobel laureate Suu Kyi has denied nearly all allegations of human rights abuses in Rakhine, including mass killings and gang rapes of Rohingya Muslims, and said the operation was a lawful counterinsurgency campaign.

"The situation in northern Rakhine has now stabilized", he said, according to the government statement. Since then, more than 69,000 Rohingyas have fled across the border to Bangladesh and, according to some United Nations officials, more than 1,000 may have been killed. The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar said on 20 January 2017 that only one detainee that she met had received any legal representation or knew of the charges laid against them.

The state-owned Global New Light of Myanmar reported Tuesday that the Sittwe District Court sentenced a man named Urumu for murder for the October 9 attack on an outpost on Rakhine state's border with Bangladesh that killed one officer.

Though the Myanmar government has denied allegations of widespread abuse, it set up an investigation commission in December to look into the violence in northern Rakhine.

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"There can be no excuse for excessive force, for abuses of fundamental human rights and basic criminality", Thaung Tun said.

The military is also accused of burning over a thousand homes.

Even before the crackdown began, human rights organizations spoke out against Myanmar's treatment of the Rohingya for years.

While the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs did not respond to a request for comment, observers on social media are expressing skepticism of a significant shift.

In opening remarks at the meeting to introduce Thuang Tin to the diplomatic community on Wednesday, Kyaw Tint Swe, minister of the Office of State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, said national reconciliation and peace in Rakhine state is "crucial to peace and stability throughout the country".



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