BALUKHALI REFUGEE CAMP, Bangladesh — The Latest on The Associated Press confirming several previously unreported mass graves in Myanmar’s Rakhine state (all times local):
The State Department says the world needs to know what happened in the area of Myanmar where The Associated Press has confirmed more than five previously unreported mass graves.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert says Washington is “deeply, deeply troubled” by the report and continues to stand by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent statement that ethnic cleansing has occurred in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
The AP’s report confirmed mass graves in the Rakhine state village of Gu Dar Pyin by relying on time-stamped cellphone video and interviews with more than two dozen survivors. They say Myanmar troops and Buddhist villagers killed scores of ethnic Rohingya Muslims. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled the country since August.
Nauert says Myanmar needs to allow an “independent and credible” investigation into allegations of atrocities.
A United Nations spokesman says a report by The Associated Press on mass graves in Myanmar is “extremely troubling,” and he urged Myanmar to allow access to the state where the killings occurred.
Stephane Dujarric was asked for reaction from U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the AP’s report confirming more than five mass graves in the Myanmar village of Gu Dar Pyin. The report relied on time-stamped cellphone video and interviews with more than two dozen survivors who say Myanmar troops and Buddhist villagers killed scores of ethnic Rohingya Muslims in August.
Dujarric says the U.N. is “very concerned” about the possible mass graves. He says the report “underscores the need for the U.N. to have access” to Myanmar’s Rakhine state, which hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled since August.
The Associated Press has confirmed more than five previously unreported mass graves in the Myanmar village of Gu Dar Pyin through multiple interviews with more than two dozen survivors in Bangladesh refugee camps and through time-stamped cellphone videos.
The Myanmar government regularly claims massacres like Gu Dar Pyin never happened, and has acknowledged only one mass grave containing 10 “terrorists” in the village of Inn Din.
But the AP’s reporting shows a military slaughter of civilians, and suggests the presence of many more graves with many more people.
It is the newest piece of evidence for what looks increasingly like a genocide in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state against the Rohingya, a long-persecuted ethnic Muslim minority in the predominantly Buddhist country.