“The new operations in Rakhine State show an unrepentant, unreformed and unaccountable military terrorising civilians and committing widespread violations as a deliberate tactic,” said Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty’s Regional Director for East and Southeast Asia.
Evidence collected, including through satellite imagery, records seven unlawful attacks that killed 14 civilians and injured at least 29 more.
In one incident, a seven-year-old boy, reportedly severely injured by a military mortar, died after being denied immediate medical care by soldiers.
In mid-March, another army mortar exploded in Ywar Haung Taw village, injuring four and destroying a house. “I heard an explosion. It was very loud and there was a big fireball that fell around us,” said the homeowner, Hla Shwe Maung.
Amnesty reports that the deployment of units from the 22nd and 55th Light Infantry Divisions suggests the operation has been sanctioned from the highest levels.
The military has not issued a response. The AA has denied endangering civilians.
Amnesty has called on the UN Security Council to urgently refer the situation in Burma to the International Criminal Court and impose a comprehensive arms embargo.
Laura Haigh, the group’s Myanmar researcher, said the UNSC had “completely abdicated in their responsibility” to do so.
“If anything, there is even less momentum than there was before. What is happening now is the perfect example of why they do need to take action because clearly the inaction to date has allowed more abuses to be committed,” she said.