Authorities in Rakhine state’s Maungdaw township have granted permission to three Rohingya Muslims to file complaints against government soldiers whom they have accused of raping them during a recent crackdown, a local administrator said Friday.
Three women from Kyargaung Taung village said they want to file charges against the soldiers who attacked them during a four-month security sweep of the township’s Rohingya communities following deadly attacks on local border guard stations in Maungdaw and neighboring Rathedaung township last October.
Officials blamed the attack on Rohingya militants, and conducted the crackdown to find those who were involved in planning and carrying out the raids during which nine border police officers were killed.
“They told media that they want to file charges against the soldiers for raping them,” said Ye Htut, Maungdaw’s district administrator. “That’s why village authorities and community leaders are helping them file it.”
“One woman couldn’t come because she is pregnant, so we went to her village and helped her to file the complaint against the soldiers,” he said.
Though scores of other Rohingya women have accused security forces of raping them during the crackdown, which ended in February, only three other cases have been filed against soldiers in Maungdaw’s U Shay Kyar village.
Myanmar has four internal commissions investigating the alleged atrocities by security forces in northern Rakhine townships during the crackdown, but they have been criticized as not being truly independent and having a negative bias toward the country's Muslim minority group.
The United Nations Human Rights Council last week said it will dispatch an independent, international fact-finding mission to investigate the alleged recent human rights violations.
The mission will be looking into reports of murder, rape, torture, and arson by security forces in Rohingya Muslim communities in the northern part of the state during a four-month security sweep that ended in February.
About 1,000 people died during the operation, and more than 77,000 Rohingya fled, mostly to neighboring Bangladesh where they are living in refugee camps.
Reported by Waiyan Moe Myint for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.