(Vatican Radio) Human rights groups have accused Burma’s government of trying to cover up abuses against civilians in a Muslim-majority part of the country’s Rakhine State.
The accusation comes after an investigation panel appointed by the government dismissed claims a crackdown by security forces there amounts to "genocide".
Troops have flooded into northern Rakhine since insurgents, believed to be from the mostly stateless Rohingya minority, attacked border posts on October 9, killing nine police officers.
Rohingya residents and refugees accuse security forces of summary executions, arbitrary arrest, rape and burning down homes as part of what the government has termed its "clearance operations" in search of attackers.
Speaking to Lydia O’Kane, the Executive Director of the Burma Campaign UK, Anna Roberts said, “the fact that this commission has no independence or credibility just underlines the need for an independent investigation, one that should be led by the UN.”
She also went on to say that they have been receiving reports of people being force to flee, houses being burned, beatings, killings of civilians, rape of women too. Journalists have not been allowed free access; humanitarian aid has also been blocked or restricted”.
The government of Burma, also known as Myanmar, has flatly denied allegations that abuses have been committed, but has prevented journalists and aid workers from accessing parts of northern Rakhine.