The UN Human Rights Council said on Thursday that the continuing influx of Rohingya refugees in neighbouring Bangladesh showed their human rights were still being violated in Myanmar.
According to United Nations reports, in the months up to January 2018 nearly 690,000 Rohingya escaped or were driven out of Rakhine and sought refuge in Bangladesh as refugees to escape continuing attacks.
Beginning in October 2016, Myanmar's military and local officials methodically removed sharp tools that could be used for self-defence by the Rohingya, destroyed fences around Rohingya homes to make military raids easier, armed and trained ethnic Rakhine Buddhists, and shut off the spigot of worldwide aid for the impoverished Rohingya community, the Fortify Rights report says.
Fortify Rights, however, disputes that narrative.
The rights group also interviewed Rohingya eyewitnesses and survivors, Myanmar military and police personnel, Bangladeshi military and government officials, and members and former members of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), the report said.
"Genocide doesn't happen spontaneously", said Matthew Smith, co-founder of Fortify Rights. "Impunity for these crimes will pave the path for more violations and attacks in the future". These include figures at the highest level of the military command structure such as Myanmar's commander-in-chief, Min Aung Hlaing, and joint chief of staff, Mya Tun Oo.
It detailed how the Myanmar authorities had planned for attacks against the Rohingya civilians in Rakhine State, resulting in more than 700,000 crossing the border into Bangladesh in the worst refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide. They also collected sharp or blunt objects from the Rohingya to "disarm" and weaken them, block access to humanitarian aid and restricted access to journalists and human rights monitors before the attack.
The government has denied visas to a United Nations delegation tasked with investigating alleged abuses and barred Professor Yanghee Lee, the UN's rights envoy to Myanmar, from entering the country, claiming that she has made "biased, one-sided and unfair accusations". "Those responsible for these brutal killings should be investigated and prosecuted in line with global human rights standards".
"We have documented the way in which the military was making these systematic preparations weeks and months before August 25, 2017, which is when that attack by Rohingya militants took place", he added.
The report also calls on the U.N.Security Council to urgently refer the situation in Myanmar to the ICC, and on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) of which Myanmar is a member to hold an emergency meeting to develop a plan of action to address the Rohingya crisis and ensure worldwide justice and accountability.
Authorities also seized chickens and other food from the Rohingya, it said. The Nation's Wasamon Audjarint and Sandy Leegumjorn compile this report about the document and its implications for Myanmar's military.
"ASEAN has a particular role to play in ending these atrocities".
The report says top military and police officials should be held responsible.
The Myanmar government has said repeatedly that the ICC can not prosecute it because the country is not a member of the court.
Rights groups have used the phrase crimes against humanity to describe the expulsion of the Rohingya but many have stopped short of the term genocide.