2 Jan 2017

Myanmar to investigate Rohingya beating video

9:28 pm on 2 January 2017

Authorities in Myanmar have promised to take action over a video that appears to show police officers beating members of the Rohingya minority.

A screen capture of the footage which shows villagers sitting in lines in front of police officers.

A screen capture of the footage, which shows villagers sitting in lines in front of police officers Photo: Screenshot / Arakan Times / BBC

The government said the incident, filmed by a police officer, happened in the restive Rakhine state in November.

There have been repeated allegations of abuses against the Muslim minority in Rakhine, with some saying the state's actions amount to ethnic cleansing.

Officials have previously said security forces are following the rule of law.

The state is closed to journalists and investigators, making it difficult to independently verify the allegations.

Scores of people have been killed in military operations in Rakhine, launched after armed militants attacked border posts in Maungdaw on 9 October, killing nine policemen.

The government said the footage was filmed in November as police conducted a "clearance operation" in Maungdaw after two police officers were shot, one fatally.

The video shows a large group of villagers sitting in lines in front of police officers. One officer can be seen beating one man, while another kicks him in the face. Other men are then also kicked or hit.

The State Counsellor's Office Information Committee said action would be taken against officers who violated police force rules.

Myanmar's government said it was conducting counter-terrorism operations in Rakhine and has denied reports of killings and other abuses.

Who are the Rohingya?

The estimated one million Muslim Rohingya are seen by many in mainly Buddhist Myanmar as illegal migrants from Bangladesh. They are denied citizenship by the government despite many having lived there for generations.

Communal violence in Rakhine in 2012 left scores dead and displaced more than 100,000 people, with many Rohingya still remaining in decrepit camps.

They face widespread discrimination and mistreatment.

Hundreds of thousands of undocumented Rohingya are estimated to live in Bangladesh, having fled Myanmar.


Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs