Saturday 25th August marks the first anniversary of the beginning of a pre-planned military offensive against the Rohingya population in Burma, using the pretext of attacks by a small armed Rohingya organisation, ARSA.
The military offensive drove around 700,000 Rohingya into neighbouring Bangladesh. It is believed that thousands of Rohingya were killed and there was mass rape of Rohingya women. Eyewitness accounts describe babies and children snatched from their parents’ arms and thrown into burning homes or drowned in rivers. Families were burned alive in their homes, villagers lined up and executed at gunpoint, and civilians targeted indiscriminately. At the time of this briefing publication, the United Nations has described what took place as ethnic cleansing, and said that it may constitute elements of genocide.