January 14, 2016
Rohingya villagers in Bura Shida Para of Maungdaw North have been threatened with dire consequences if they meet with UN special envoy Yanghee Lee who is scheduled to visit the area on Sunday.
The commander of Battalion 551 called on the Aishwyaramu of the village tract on Saturday to relay this message. He said that if the villagers failed to heed the Tatmadaw’s commands, the situation will take a turn for the worse.
Bura Shida Para has faced brutal army offensives since the early days of the crackdown that started in October 9 last year. Many were killed as the army randomly shot at fleeing villagers, while any male members, some as young as ten years old were apprehended. The fate of most of the arrested continues to be a mystery amid allegations they face brutal torture in custody. Many arrested in recent times have had their eyes gouged out, while others had their hands cut off.
Eyewitnesses reported dead bodies piled near the village tract while corpses floated in the adjacent river.
Many women were also raped.
Earlier, many who spoke with visiting delegations were arrested and tortured, with at least two of them killed. One man from Bur Shida Para was killed for speaking to Myanmar media.
Yanghee Lee, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar is visiting Arakan on a three day tour as part of her visit to the country. Her earlier observations on human rights abuses against the Rohingya community has drawn stringent criticism from Buddhist nationalists.
On Saturday, Lee visited Shil Khali and Dunsay in Rathedaung. Although the men were prevented access, there are some reports that some of the women managed to meet with the envoy and tell her about the current situation.