UN OHCHR: 2016 Myanmar Atrocities Against Rohingya

Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh 2016 credit: UN OHCHR

Report of OHCHR mission to Bangladesh Interviews with Rohingyas fleeing from Myanmar since 9 October 2016


Originally published: 3 February 2017

For PDF of the UN OHCHR Report see: https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/MM/FlashReport3Feb2017.pdf


1. Introduction and methodology 3 2. Context 5 3. Geographic scope 7 4. Statistical analysis of the interviews 9 5. Security forces and other armed elements operating in the area 11 6. Extrajudicial and summary executions or other killings 13 6.1. Death due to random firing 14 6.2. Death due to shooting at close range 15 6.3. Death due to stabbing by knife 16 6.4. Death by burning 16 6.5. Beating to death 17 6.6. Killings of children 18 7. Enforced disappearance 19 8. Rape and other forms of sexual violence 20 8.1. Gang rape and rape by an individual 21 1.1. Sexual violence other than rape 24 9. Physical assault including torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment 25 9.1. Beatings and death threats 25 9.2. Stress positions 27 9.3. Psychological torture 28 10. Arbitrary detention, inhumane conditions and ill-treatment in detention 29 11. Lack of emergency medical care 31 12. Destruction of property 31 12.1 Destruction of homes and other buildings 31 12.2. Destruction of food and food sources 33 13. Looting and occupation of property 34 14. Ethnic and religious discrimination 35 15. Analysis of patterns in specifically targeted villages 37 16. Conclusions 40

Footnotes are in italics

1. Introduction and methodology

At the request of the High Commissioner, an OHCHR four-member team was granted access to Bangladesh from 8 to 23 January 2017 to interview Rohingyas who had entered Bangladesh from northern Rakhine State (nRS) in the aftermath of the 9 October 2016 attacks.

As per its terms of references, the team focussed exclusively on gathering testimonies on events and incidents that had occurred in nRS since 9 October, in order to carry out an assessment of potential human rights violations taking place there since then. The human rights situation in nRS prior to 9 October has been analysed and described in the High Commissioner’s June 2016 report to the HRC (A/HRC/32/18), and is therefore not covered by this report.

The team gathered testimony from more than 220 persons who had fled nRS, conducting interviews from 12 January to 21 January 2017 in the district of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. The team was assisted by four full-time interpreters (one female, three male), in addition to three part-time interpreters (two female, one male). The team’s two female members prioritised interviews with women, assisted by the female interpreters.

The interviews were conducted in 8 different locations where many of the estimated 66,000 newly arrived Rohingya have temporarily settled (see also the below map provided by IOM of where recent arrivals are located): 1. The Kutupalong and Nayapara registered camps, where some 14,000 newly arrived reside alongside long-standing registered refugees. 2. The makeshift settlements in Kutupalong and Leda. 3. In host communities (villages) where many newly arrived people reside entirely outside any organized camp or settlement. These communities were located in the areas of Leda, Hnila, Balikhali, Teknaf and Shamlapur.

In the registered camps, the makeshift settlements and in Shamlapur, the interviews were conducted indoors (e.g. in food distribution centres, health clinics, other offices), to ensure full confidentiality and privacy. In the other locations, the interviews were conducted in the interviewees’ makeshift shelters constructed out of bamboo sticks and plastic sheets. The interviewees were selected by the team either through contact with local organizations on the sites or through random identification of residents on the sites, without providing any prior information on the team’s arrival. In addition to gathering testimony, the team also collected audio-visual material – including photographs of bullet and knife wounds, burns, and injuries resulting from beatings with rifle butts or bamboo sticks.1 The team did not use or consider any photographic evidence that it had not taken itself. 2 The team also considered three independently prepared satellite imagery analysis reports, provided by UNOSAT, Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW), and reviewed recent reports from December 2016 on the situation since 9 October in nRS.3 The team did not consult any recent traditional or social media reports or other reports on the situation, except for updates produced by the UNCTs of Myanmar and Bangladesh.

2. Context

The general situation in nRS, including the legal framework and the long-standing human rights challenges, have been extensively described in the High Commissioner’s recent report to the Human Rights Council (HRC), A/HRC/32/18. To understand the general context, only a brief summary follows: Rakhine State is one of the poorest states in Myanmar, with limited access to basic services and few livelihood opportunities for the entire population. It has one of the lowest rates of literacy in the country. Muslim communities face additional barriers owing to protracted displacement, restrictions on freedom of movement and discrimination, and access to education. Many Rakhine contest the claims of the Rohingya to a distinct ethnic heritage and historic links to Rakhine State, viewing the Rohingya as “Bengali” (connoting them as non-indigenous or “illegal immigrants”), with no cultural, religious or social ties to Myanmar. Since 2012, incidents of religious intolerance and incitement to hatred by extremist and ultra-nationalist Buddhist groups have increased across the country. The Rohingya and other Muslims are often portrayed as a “threat to race and religion”. Against this backdrop, tensions have occasionally erupted into violence.4 There are long-standing grievances in Rakhine State between Rohingya Muslims (population of just over 1 million of which perhaps 800,000 live in nRS) and Rakhine Buddhists (the

1 In cases of injuries caused by attacks by the army, police, and/or Rakhine villagers, it should also be mentioned that the interviewees’ description of weapons used (rifles, grenades, bamboo sticks, rifle butts, long knives) match the analysis of medical experts from different organizations, who have provided aid to injured persons in Bangladesh and who spoke with the OHCHR team about the kinds of weapons that may have been used to inflict injury as well as on the frequency of cases of injuries and sexual- and gender-based violence from Myanmar referred to their clinics since 9 October. 2 The team was given photographs and videos by victims, witnesses and other interviewees (including humanitarian organizations), but has not yet been able to prove their veracity and therefore they were not used for this report. 3 The HRW report of 13 December, Amnesty International report of 20 December (AI report ASA 16/5362/2016), and ICG report nr 283, released on 15 December 2016, plus a Lancet article published online December 1, 2016, see http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)00646-2. 4 A/HRC/32/18 and CRC/C/MMR/CO/3-4, paras. 96–97, A/70/412, para. 36 and A/HRC/28/72, para. 55. “Rakhine”) (around 2 million); and between each community on the one hand and the Bamar-majority-led central Government on the other.5 The Rohingya face severe restrictions on their freedom of movement. In nRS, they require official authorization to move between, and often within, townships (for example, a village departure certificate is required to stay overnight in another village.). The procedures to secure travel are onerous and time-consuming, and failure to comply with requirements can result in arrest and prosecution. Restrictions routinely lead to extortion and harassment by law enforcement and public officials. Since the outbreak of violence in Rakhine in June 2012, a curfew was imposed in nRS, which offers broad discretionary powers to the authorities, including with regard to limitations on assembly and prohibiting movement between dusk and dawn. This curfew remains in place, having been extended in the wake of the 9 October events referred to below.6 The team received many testimonies about such restrictions. As a result of such barriers, a Rohingya can find it easier to flee to Bangladesh than to other parts of Rakhine State or another region of Myanmar. It is therefore not surprising that an estimated 66,000 Rohingya7 have crossed the border with Bangladesh (pictured below) since 9 October, either by boat (for those who can afford the exorbitant fees charged by smugglers and boatmen) or by trying to float across by holding onto a plastic container or barrel (for those who cannot):

Many of those interviewed reported having been first internally displaced within a limited, sealed-off area north of Maungdaw in nRS, sometimes moving between up to five villages, before trying to cross the border into Bangladesh (having realised that the Myanmar

5 A/HRC/32/18. The most recent major outbreak in June and October 2012 led to hundreds of cases of injury and death, the destruction of property and the displacement of 140,000 people (see A/67/383, paras. 56–58, and A/HRC/22/58, paras. 47–48). Around 120,000 individuals remain in camps for internally displaced in central Rakhine State, with ongoing segregation between Rakhine and Rohingya communities. 6 A/HRC/32/18 para 28-30 and Amnesty International report nr ASA 16/5362/2016 of 20 December 2016. 7 IOM Cox’s Bazar Situation Report of 5 January 2017 reported 65,000 while an OCHA update on 20 January reported 66,000. security forces were heavily present in all villages in the area). An estimated 22,000 people remain internally displaced as at 20 January,8 which means that nearly 90,000 people are estimated to have suffered internal or cross-border displacement since 9 October. In addition to experiencing multiple displacement (both internal and cross-border), the vast majority of those interviewed also had experienced multiple violations. As is visible from the statistics produced by the team, families may have had members killed, beaten, raped and/or taken away to an unknown location, while at the same time their homes were burned and looted. For most interviewees, separation from their families is a major concern. Many of the interviewees were severely traumatized by the events they had experienced or witnessed, and many broke down and cried during the interviews, including men. Some others were visibly hungry, thirsty or sick.

3. Geographic scope

Of the people interviewed by the team, all except two had fled from the so-called security operation zone (or lockdown area) primarily located in north Maungdaw in nRS (see map further below).9 All persons interviewed by OHCHR had fled the area after 9 October.

The Myanmar security forces have been heavily present in this area ever since several hundred men reportedly attacked three border guard posts located in the area on 9 October 2016 - the Border Guard Police (BGP) headquarters in Kyee Kan Pyin close to Wa Peik, the BGP sector headquarters at Nga Khu Ya in Maungdaw and a BGP outpost in Koe Dan Kauk, in Rathedaung.10 According to a press conference held by the Government of Myanmar on the same day, nine police officers were killed in the attacks, while eight attackers were killed and two captured.11 On the same day, the area was reportedly sealed off and people’s movement restricted. . Humanitarian agencies were denied access to this lockdown area12,

8 OCHA update on 20 January 2016. 9 All names of village tracts and villages used in this report correspond to those used by the Myanmar Information Management Unit (MIMU, see http://www.themimu.info/), in particular in their map of Maungdaw Township - Rakhine State (Map ID: MIMU154v04, Creation Date: 3 May 2016, A1, Projection/Datum:Geographic/WGS84) 10 AI report ASA 16/5362/2016 of 20 December 2016, ICG report nr 283 of 15 December 2016, HRW report of 13 December, Global Light of Myanmar, 10 October 2016. 11 Global Light of Myanmar, 10 October 2016. This was reportedly followed by additional skirmishes on 12 November near Pwint Hpyu Chaung in which one soldier was killed, Global Light of Myanmar 13 November 2016 and ICG report nr 283 of 15 December 2016. 12 OCHA reported on 29 December that access to almost all locations in northern part of Maungdaw had been re-suspended on 28 December with immediate effect. At the time of writing, access remained restricted for most actors, although WFP national staff were in January authorized to access 43 villages and UNHCR two villages in Maungdaw north in January 2017, according to an OCHA update on 20 January. Prior to that, reportedly only one-off food deliveries on 8, 9 and 10 November to a handful of villages had been authorized, in which the military indicated that it was conducting “area clearance operations” which are further described below.13

Extract of map from the Myanmar Information Management Unit. Map ID: MIMU154v04, Creation Date: 3 May 2016, A1, Projection/Datum: Geographic/WGS84.14

Testimonies gathered by OHCHR indicate that the security forces continued their operations in the area into January 2017, although possibly with less intensity and frequency. The team interviewed people who had fled the lockdown area and crossed the border as recently as early January 2017. UN officials in Bangladesh have confirmed that, at the time

following a visit by an international mission comprising UN and diplomatic representatives on 2-3 November to those same villages.

13 ICG report nr 283, 15 December 2016. 14 The full original map is available here: http://www.themimu.info/sites/themimu.info/files/documents/Tsp_Map_VL_Maungdaw_- _Rakhine_MIMU154v04_03May2016_A1.pdf of writing, people continue to cross into Bangladesh, although the numbers may have reduced compared to the peak of the influx at the end of 2016.

4. Statistical analysis of the interviews

The OHCHR team interviewed more than 220 victims and witnesses, in addition to numerous representatives of UN system agencies, NGOs, health professionals and other experts in Dhaka and Cox’s Bazar. The team conducted in-depth interviews with 204 victims and witnesses. Of the 204 individuals, 77 were men, 101 were women and 26 were children.15 All except for two are from Maungdaw township. All interviewees from Maungdaw township are specifically from the lockdown area.16 The only two who were not from Maungdaw were from Buthidaung. Some 66% are from nine of the most affected villages of the lockdown area.17 The team has carried out a basic statistical analysis of the violations reported or experienced by 204 individuals interviewed, and can present the following picture: Testimonies of witnesses (including victims): Of the 204 persons interviewed:

- 134 (65%) reported killings. - 115 (56%) reported disappearances (including persons having been “taken away” by the security forces and not heard of since). - 131 (64%) reported beatings. - 88 (43%) reported rape. - 63 (31%) reported sexual violence. - 131 (64%) reported burning or other destruction of property. - 81 (40%) reported looting/theft of property.

Testimonies of victims: Of the 204 persons interviewed, many reported having been personally victim of a violation: - 26 (13%) reported having been personally shot or stabbed (the OHCHR team has photographic evidence on file). - 91 (45%) reported that a family member had disappeared. - 96 (47%) reported that a family member had been killed.

15 “Children” being defined as persons below the age of 18 years, in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child. 16 The team has yet to determine the precise Burmese translations for three Rohingya village names from that area. 17 Namely Yae Khat Chaung Gwa Son, Kyet Yoe Pyin, Nga Khu Ya, Pwint Hpyu Chaung, Ngar Sar Kyu, Myaw Taung, Dar Gyi Zar, Kyar Gaung Taung, Wa Peik (listed in descending order of number of interviewees from village). - 89 (44%) reported having been beaten. - 26 (13%) reported having been raped, of whom 2 were girls. Among the 101 women interviewed, 24 (24%) reported having been raped. - 33 reported having suffered other forms of sexual violence, of whom 5 were girls. Among the 101 women interviewed 28 (28%) reported having suffered other forms of sexual violence. - Taken together, 52 (52%) of the 101 women interviewed reported having been raped or subjected to other forms of sexual violence. - 102 (50%) reported that their own property had been burned or destroyed. - 76 (37%) reported looting or theft of their own property.

It should be mentioned here that the above numbers likely represent an under-estimation of the violations that the 204 interviewees witnessed or experienced, for the following reasons: - The data above only represents the violations that the witnesses and victims reported during the interviews. Many victims of severe violations (rape, killings or disappearances of close family members) were less likely to discuss other violations (for example, destruction of property, looting) during the in-depth interviews. - Regarding rape, it is not easy for a woman from a conservative culture to share information with others about having been raped, due to both embarrassment and stigma. It cannot be ruled out that some women who reported having been subject to sexual violence may in fact have also been raped, but may have refrained from saying so. The majority of women were interviewed by the team’s two female members assisted by the team’s female interpreter, but given the large number of female victims some had to be interviewed by a female or male team member assisted by a male interpreter. It should also be mentioned that some of the victims and witnesses that the team interviewed may have experienced or witnessed more violations on average than others who have fled the lockdown area (i.e. a possible over-estimation in comparison with the other 66,000 and 22,000 who remain displaced in Bangladesh and Myanmar respectively at the time of writing), for the following reason: During the interviews that the team conducted in five of the eight locations it visited, some of the interviewees that the team selected had been previously informed about the OHCHR team’s arrival and purpose. On the other hand, during the interviews that the team conducted in three of the eight locations it visited, the team selected interviewees in an entirely random manner among residents who had been given no prior warning about the team’s arrival and purpose. The testimonies gathered in these three locations were not significantly qualitatively or quantitatively different from those gathered in the other five locations. 5. Security forces and other armed elements operating in the area

The testimonies gathered indicate that four types of Myanmar security forces and two types of other armed elements were involved in the operations being conducted in the lockdown area since 9 October:

From left to right: Uniforms of the Myanmar Police Force, Tatmadaw and Border Guard Police. Credit: EPA Photos.

The Myanmar armed forces (Tatmadaw)

They are typically dressed in plain green uniforms (pictured above), according to testimonies gathered, carry long rifles and long knives, in addition to heavier weaponry.

The Border Guard Police Force of Myanmar (BGP)

They are typically dressed in camouflage-patterned uniforms (pictured above), which several victims identified as similar to the uniforms of the Bangladesh Border Guard (BGB).18 Witness testimonies indicated that the armed forces19 (or army, military or Tatmadaw – these terms are used interchangeably in this report) often operated jointly with the BGP.20 This is consistent with reports of “joint operations” between the Tatmadaw and police forces both by the GoM and other sources. In practice, though joint BGP-army patrols take place, the army reportedly has authority over the security response, under its western commander.21

18 E.g. interview with woman from Wa Peik: “When I came here [to a camp in Bangladesh] and I saw the BGB’s uniforms I was really scared because their uniforms are very similar to those of the armed men that came to my village - greenish camouflage with something light/white on the sleeves. They had long rifles; they were pointing them at us.” 19 Unit 205 was mentioned specifically by victims and witnesses from Nga Khu Ya. 20 E.g. interview with woman from Kyet Yoe Pyin: “The armed men were wearing green uniforms, some with plain patterned pants, and some with camouflage pattern, like leaves. They had the same colour as the helicopters.” 21 ICG report nr 283, 15 December 2016. Police forces of Myanmar

Non-border police forces were also engaged in operations in nRS. They are typically dressed in uniforms with grey shirts and dark trousers (also pictured above). They feature in the disturbing video footage of Myanmar Police personnel beating men – and children – who were rounded up during the security operations.22

Rakhine villagers recently integrated into the security forces

Several testimonies were gathered from interviewees who claimed to have been attacked by Rakhine villagers23 dressed in security force uniforms, indicating that the villagers had recently been provided with such uniforms and weapons. When asked how they could distinguish a uniformed Rakhine villager from a regular, long-standing officer, many witnesses – including several women - stated that the Rakhine villagers would have longer hair (without a military style hairstyle) and were less likely to be shaved. Others had recognized their own Rakhine neighbours in military uniforms: “I know Buddhist boys in my village who have been given military uniforms and weapons. We can distinguish them from the regular military, even when they wear uniforms. There are Buddhist villages next to our village. They had a marketplace there, where both we Muslims and Buddhists went, we used to see them there every day. I know many of the young boys, those of my age, I used to talk with them.”24 These testimonies are consistent with statements by the Government, the media and others about the recruitment of local non-Muslims. Reportedly, the GoM has clarified that it has an “accelerated BGP training program with loosened admission criteria and trainees deployed as regular BGP”.25 Rakhine villagers joining/supporting the security forces in civilian clothing

Several interviewees also testified about having been attacked by Rakhine villagers who were dressed in civilian clothing, but were assisting and supporting the security forces. Sometimes Rakhine villagers would join the security forces in whatever they were doing; on

22 https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2017/jan/02/rohingya-police-beating-footage-myanmar- government-investigate-video. The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar reports in her press statement of 20 January that Myanmar acknowledged this video’s veracity and responded by arresting some of the police officers featured in the video. 23 Rakhine villagers were occasionally called “Buddhists” or, pejoratively, “Mogh” by the interviewees. These terms have been retained in the original interview reports where they were used, but are not used in this report. 24 Interview with a 22-year old man from Doe Tan. 25 ICG report nr 283, 15 December 2016 and http://www.moi.gov.mm/moi:eng/?q=news/18/11/2016/id-9208 which quotes Lwin, the chief of the No. 1 Border Guard Police Force, saying that “every Rakhine national wishing to protect their state will have a chance to become part of the local armed police” and that “healthy Rakhine women and wives of the members of Rakhine State Police Force also have received basic military training”. other occasions, Rakhine villagers would engage in looting, beating or sexual abuse on their own initiative (but in the presence of security forces who did nothing to stop it).26

Other armed elements

According to the Government of Myanmar27 and a recent International Crisis Group report28, Rohingya insurgent elements have also been operating in nRS during the period, and were allegedly responsible for the attacks on the three BGP sites that occurred on 9 October and involved in skirmishes on 12 November. Of the witnesses and victims OHCHR spoke with, no one reported having witnessed or having been subjected to any abuse by these alleged insurgents. Testimonies received in relation to these armed elements instead mainly referred to statements made by Tatmadaw or BGP during their “area clearance operations", in which soldiers or police officers stated to villagers that they were searching for members of the Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO). Other testimonies similarly referred to the security forces having blamed the Rohingya villagers for having sheltered “bad people” or “terrorists”, although without any reference to any concrete group.


All eyewitness testimonies the team gathered referred to violations allegedly perpetrated by the Myanmar security forces or Rakhine villagers acting jointly with security forces (or at least with their acceptance). A description of these follows below in the chapters on the types of alleged violations.

6. Extrajudicial and summary executions or other killings

Many victims and witnesses interviewed by OHCHR claimed that several of their immediate and/or extended family members, neighbours and other Rohingya civilians in the nRS were killed in different circumstances and by different methods by the Myanmar army, police and Rakhine villagers.

26 Some interviewees referred to the Rakhine villagers as members of the so-called 969 movement. 27 SR Lee reported the following on 20 January in her end-of-mission press statement concerning those attacks: “What has been said to me over and over by Government representatives regarding the 9 October attacks is that this was not an inter-communal violence or crisis; that this was a calculated attack against the sovereignty of Myanmar and that the Government rightly launched a security response. The Government described to me how the attacks occurred and I saw the three Border Guard posts concerned. I deplore these attacks carried out in a brutal manner and I convey my deepest condolences to the families of those killed.” 28 ICG report nr 283, 15 December 2016. The ICG refers to an armed group (known as Harakat al-Yaqin (HaY)), as having been responsible for three attacks on BGP posts that occurred on 9 October. 6.1. Death due to random firing

Many victims reported that several of their family members and friends were killed by random firing and the use of grenades29 by the army, and provided their names to OHCHR. Many other eyewitnesses also stated that many innocent civilians were killed on the spot due to the random firing of bullets and use of grenades. Similar testimonies were received from victims from across the lockdown area, indicating the systematic, widespread and coordinated nature of such indiscriminate attacks by the army, the police and Rakhine villagers. The allegations of the random nature of shootings were corroborated by witness testimonies that showed that people were shot either while fleeing, when they were working on their farms, shopping in markets, or while fishing. Some of those interviewed mentioned that they did not know from which direction bullets or grenade splinters hit them. Many attacks were reportedly conducted by the security forces in early hours of the morning around Fajar prayer time, when it was still dark and the visibility was poor, making it difficult for the security forces to see who they were firing at and for the innocent civilians to flee.

A man from Yae Khat Chaung Gwa Son stated: “The day the army attacked my village, my father and I had just come out of prayers, when we heard sounds of shooting. We had just walked to a farm, where we were sitting and talking to the owner of the farm. While the firing was still going on, my father stood up, which is when a grenade came and exploded close to us, killing my father, the farm owner’s son, and severely injuring me and the farmer.” (OHCHR picture of victim’s injuries on file.) In another case, a man from Kyar Gaung Taung reported: “The day the army attacked, it was 3 a.m., and I was sleeping. After hearing the firing, I woke up and to save my life I wanted to run and hide. All of a sudden a projectile hit my body, and I was hurt”. Similar attacks occurred in Doe Tan, as reported by a 25-year old male interviewee: “The military came to our village on 10 October in the morning. First they started shooting into the air, people were scared and came out of their homes, and then they started killing people. They were shooting at people. We were all trying to flee, I was running and at that point I was shot and fell into the paddy field. Since I was running I am not sure on which side the bullet entered and where it exited. My cousin helped me and brought me home and treated my wound. My father was killed at the same time as I was shot.” (OHCHR picture on file of his lower back and side, where a bullet entered and exited.) The use of helicopters for firing bullets and dropping of grenades also confirm the indiscriminate and random nature of the attacks. Witnesses from Dar Gyi Zar and Yae Khat

29 In testimonies, victims and witnesses would describe projectiles and explosions seemingly caused by grenades but possibly also by mortars. Chaung Gwa Son recounted to the OHCHR team the horror, destruction and casualties that helicopter attacks caused in their villages. One eye witness from Dar Gyi Zar explained: “Two helicopters were deployed to our village. The helicopters flew over the village for over 20 minutes, firing randomly at the villagers. The first round of attack was carried out from a higher altitude, but in the second and third rounds, they flew just over the rooftops of the houses. Seven members of my brother’s family in-law were killed in the helicopter attack.” A young teenager from Yae Twin Kyun stated: “They were shooting from a helicopter when I was in Yae Khat Chaung Gwa Son, visiting my grandmother. I was in front of her house, playing with some other boys when the helicopter came. I was shot from the helicopter, other boys were too. Six or seven of us were hit by bullets from the helicopter.” (OHCHR picture on file, taken of three different gunshot wounds, on each arm plus in armpit.) Many of those interviewed reported having lost one or more family members, friends or neighbours due to shooting while fleeing such attacks. Some recalled that bullets “rained” on them when they were fleeing their villages, along with hundreds of others. OHCHR photographed and documented injuries on victims that were either still fresh or had left scars on their body, due to surgeries performed on them to remove bullets/grenade splinters.

6.2. Death due to shooting at close range

Influential and respected members of the community, particularly teachers, imams, religious scholars and community leaders were reportedly specifically targeted. In several cases, the army entered houses, shops or villages and shot and summarily executed them with a rifle shot at close range. While describing the situation, several victims mentioned that the army and Rakhine civilians, sometimes up to 400 individuals, would arrive in a village, and between six and 10 of them would then go from