Special Report: Myanmar\'s moves could mean the Rohingya never go home
Myanmar\'s leaders have promised to bring home thousands of Rohingya Muslims fleeing the brutal military crackdown.
But the government, led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, is taking steps to make their return more and more impossible.
Before the army expelled the Rohingya, the region of Rohingya living in Rakhine state in western Myanmar was undergoing tremendous changes.
The northern part of the area used to be Muslim.
The vast majority of Buddhist countries.
Satellite images show that hundreds of new homes are being built in villages inhabited by Rohingya.
Many of these villages were burned and then razed to the ground by bulldozers and scratched.
The new residence is mainly inhabited by Buddhists, some of which are from other parts of Rakhine state.
The security forces have also built new facilities in these areas.
However, due to restrictions on travel in the region, seeing satellite images in our interactive report, a clear description of ground changes has been elusive.
To document Myanmar\'s plan for the Rohingya, Reuters analyzed satellite photos of construction work in the region over the past year and unpublished resettlement maps drafted by the government.
Reporters also interviewed countries and states.
Government officials in charge of the resettlement policy, aid workers, refugees in refugee camps in Bangladesh and Rohingya still living in northern Rakhine state.
According to local officials and new settlers, the map of the destroyed village in northern Rakhine state is both building some new homes and helping to promote the resettlement of Buddhism.
The campaign was initiated by Buddhist nationalists who wanted to establish a Buddhist majority in the region.
The government-drafted Rohingya resettlement map is described here for the first time, showing that many refugees returning to Rakhine state will not return to their homes or even their original villages.
The map shows that they will be divided into dozens of Rohingya.
Only settlements separate them from other populations.
Reuters reported that a group of remaining Rohingya said the situation in Myanmar is becoming more and more unbearable.
According to an American insider, a decentralized community of more than 200,000 Rohingya people still exists in northern Rakhine state. N.
Documents reviewed by Reuters.
More than 20 people who recently fled to Bangladesh told Reuters that they faced threats and beatings from security forces, as well as curfew and travel restrictions, which made it difficult for them to work or get food.
The result is the continued influx of Rohingya into Bangladesh.
According to the United Nations, nearly 15,000 people have fled so far this year.
Li Yanhai, United StatesN.
The special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar said that the Reuters investigation showed that the actions of the Myanmar authorities were making the expulsion of Rohingya irreversible.
The aim, she said, is to change the terrain by removing \"any remnants\" of the village of Rohingya.
\"It has become impossible for people to go back to their place of origin and identify the landmarks to be returned.
\"Myanmar authorities\" want everyone out, she added. \".
\"Now that they have got them out, they will certainly not return it to the Rohingya.
In response to a Reuters question, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement said: \"Myanmar has been preparing to recover refugees since January.
The government is investing in all physical objects (efforts)
The wisdom to overcome the challenges we face in Rakhine state . \"
On August, Myanmar\'s reconstruction of Aung San Suu Kyi in Rakhine state told an audience in Singapore that Myanmar was seeking a \"voluntary, safe and dignified return\" of the displaced Rohingya \".
It is certain that as Myanmar tries to ease the international pressure on the crisis, the return of some refugees is possible.
However, refugees are skeptical at the Bangladesh border.
Repatriation is scheduled to begin in November.
15 there were about 2,200 Rohingya who collapsed when they refused to go unless they were granted citizenship and were allowed to return to their original home.
Myo Nyunt, spokesman for the ruling National League for Democracy, said the Rohingya should be held responsible for the delay in their return, as they demanded citizenship as a prerequisite for repatriation.
\"We absolutely cannot accept it,\" he said . \"
He also said that bureaucratic obstacles in Bangladesh prevented repatriation.
\"The longer people return, the more likely others will be to replace them,\" he said . \".
Hussain Ahmed said it would make no sense to return if he could not take back his land.
He sat in a shed in a refugee camp in tubang, Bangladesh, checking satellite photos of Din Inn, a village he was born 73 years ago, and fled during last year\'s army crackdown.
The Muslim family is gone.
The home of Buddhism still exists.
Hussein Ahmed pointed to the place where he once stood, a new two --Story structure.
In its position, there is a long red-A building with a roof
\"This is my village,\" Hussein Ahmed said . \" He is the village chairman of the Ding Hotel.
\"All our houses have been burned down,\" he said . \"
The army occupied our land.
So I don\'t think we can get it back.
\"It was heard from Hussein Ahmed that a refugee from camp kutuparon was ruled by a series of repressive military leaders for half a century.
In 2011, the junta surrendered to a civilian government nominally led by Aung San Suu Kyi.
However, the army still has strong power, and the general and Aung San Suu Kyi\'s cabinet have shown a united front in Rohingya policy.
Northern Rakhine State is home to many ethnic groups.
The two largest are the Rohingya, and the other is the Rakhine state of Buddhist believers.
For decades, the junta has tried to change the population balance by increasing the number of local Buddhists.
Military spokesman xitun Niou said the aim was to prevent \"human invasion\"
It refers to the Muslim-controlled Ministry of Border Affairs.
\"We need a human fence to stop it.
The Rohingya can be traced back to centuries in the Rakhine region, and independent scholars support them in reading history.
Buddhist nationalists see Rohingya as Muslim intruders who invented national identity after immigrating from Indiacontinent.
They want to limit the number of Muslims in northern Rakhine state.
The removal of the Rohingya from the Aung San Suu Kyi watch is marked with great help in achieving this goal.
According to data within the United States, there is now more or less digital equality between Buddhists and Muslims in northern Rakhine state. N. document.
According to the United Nations, the outflow of Rohingya has produced the world\'s largest refugee camp, the result of \"ethnic cleansing\" with \"the intention of genocide \".
The United Nations says Burma\'s security forces launched an offensive in northern Rakhine state last year that has expelled more than 730,000 Rohingya, including mass killings and gang rape.
Myanmar denied the allegations, saying the crackdown was a reasonable response to \"terrorism.
\"On Last August, a group of Rohingya insurgents attacked security posts in the area and killed 13 members of the security forces.
In subsequent military operations, nearly 400 Rohingya villages were destroyed or destroyedled offensive.
As many villages continue to burn, the government says it intends to reshape northern Rakhine state.
The minister in charge of resettlement, Win Myat Aye, quoted a law on natural disasters, saying that under the law, \"the burned land becomes the government --
According to state media.
Satellite images show that within a few months, the government sent bulldozers to level the Rohingya homes, mosques and other buildings in dozens of villages.
In aerial photos taken on February over northern Rakhine state, traces of bulldozers scraping down the sand can be seen. A U. N. fact-
The investigation team said that reports of the destruction of villages raised \"serious concerns\" about evidence of Myanmar\'s attempts to destroy its operations.
The government said it was good faith to push the soil.
Open the way for the new development and improvement of living conditions of Rohingya people.
\"We were surprised when the news of the misconception came out,\" said Win Myat Aye, the minister in charge of resettlement . \".
One of the villages is Din Inn, where 10 Muslim men were slaughtered in the 2017 attack reported by Reuters on February.
The 6,000 Rohingya living there, almost 90% of the population, have left.
So is their home.
Pictures of Ding (ding) Hotel
See the picture show, a dozen rectangles, red-
A roof building was built on a land with a roof
The Rohingya houses have roofs and at least one mosque.
Visitors to the village say the new building is a border police facility.
The road through the Ding Hotel has widened.
Satellite images show new roads and infrastructure being built in northern Rakhine state.
According to local officials, the Rakhine government is building 100 new homes for Buddhists in the village.
A group called the reconstruction of the State Territorial Auxiliary council of Rakhine state on the western border has built more new homes in the ding hotel, and also specifically for Buddhists.
The group of Buddhist nationalists has placed more than 130 families from other parts of Rakhine state.
The families now live in the Kauk guest house in Din and Koe Tan, another village where Muslims accounted for the majority before the Rohingya fled.
\"Muslims are a worldwide disease.
Anyone who says different is lying, \"said Tun, one of the organization\'s founders.
\"My wish, if I were not a diplomat, would anyone from Rakhine state say that we want only Rakhine state.
\"Denton is one of many Rakhine Buddhist leaders who strongly oppose the repatriation of Rohingya to the Dan hotel and the coastal area near the Bay of Bengal.
They say this is an important strategic area in northern Rakhine.
Buffer zone separating Muslims
The Buddhist heartland of Bangladesh and Myanmar.
A senior official from the General Administration Department of Rakhine state told Reuters that his office signed a family placement agreement reviewed by The Than Tun Committee, which is operating with government approval.
The department is under the control of the military, which is part of the central government\'s Interior Ministry.
Kyaw Soe Moe, the administrator of the Ding Hotel, said he was helping New Buddhists settle in what he called \"open space\" in the village.
At the kutubang refugee camp, we lost everything on the Bangladesh border, with Noor Islam and his 20 extended family members living in a shed.
He said he was 90. year-
Most of the time traveling to Bangladesh was an old mother.
He once owned several pharmacies in Rakhine state.
\"When I fled, my shop was packed with medicines,\" he said . \".
Now he sells medicine on a wobbly bamboo table.
His home is Taung Bazar, a small village named after the \"Mountain market\" that once attracted a large number of people.
Before the village of Rohingya young birds became the home of Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims, what the village looks like, they are the majority.
Now, there is only one small Rohingya community that still exists and hundreds of Buddhists have moved in.
The Border Affairs Department built 63 mint factories on the eastern edge of Taung Bazar
Green house with blue roof.
These new houses are located in rice fields previously cultivated by Rohingya, mostly Buddhist minorities.
More Buddhist houses have been built on the banks of the horse u river crossing the village.
According to three local Rohingya villagers speaking over the phone, after many residents fled, a Buddhist village administrator began selling riverside land to Buddhist families, starting early this year.
The village chief rumbled and said that the land along the river belonged to the Buddhist community of Rakhine state.
He said he helped the Buddhists move into their new home and allowed them to stay in the empty Rohingya family for the time being.
He said he did not take money for it.
At the kutuparon refugee camp, Noor Islam recently turned over the receipt showing the tax he paid on two acres of land
It\'s a green house now.
\"We lost everything,\" he said . \"
See video: Officials from the agriculture, animal husbandry and irrigation department of Naypyidaw told Reuters that Noor Islam\'s tax revenue looks real.
Nevertheless, the officer named Than Htut said that since the Rohingya are not Burmese citizens, they must \"negotiate\" with local authorities to recover the land or receive compensation.
Aung San Suu Kyi said in a speech in Singapore on August that her government had \"planned a potential location for the resettlement of returnees \".
Bangladesh officials told Reuters that her remarks contradict the agreement they signed with Myanmar to repatriate Rohingya.
The agreement provides that Rohingya can return to their chosen home or nearby.
However, the plan proposed by Aung San Suu Kyi is advancing.
At the minister\'s request, the ministry official in charge of resettlement showed Reuters a map that drew the location of a new settlement that would be built for returning refugees.
The ministry said there would be 42 settlements.
The map reflects an extensive plan to redraw the ethno
Religious border in northern Rakhine state
In addition to the settlement for the Rohingya, the map includes settlements mainly for Buddhist ethnic groups, as well as locations marked with black circles, where only Hindus will live.
The Rohingya are called \"Bengali\" on the map, a derogatory term that indicates that they are foreign invaders.
The minister in charge of resettlement, Win Myat Aye, said in an interview that seeing the resettlement of the mapnew settlement would be an improvement in their original village.
\"With electricity, roads and bridges, things will be better.
\"Refugees whose houses have been destroyed can choose to live in a\" temporary tent \"in a place of placement while building their own houses as part of\" cash --for-
The Ministry of Immigration and resettlement said in a statement to Reuters that the \"work\" plan.
When asked if the Rohingya could return to their old village, Win Myat Aye replied: \"If their house is still there, they can if they want to go.
\"Many villagers do not have this option.
At Din Inn, for example, all Muslim families have been burned down and the map shows no planned resettlement sites in the village.
The map also shows that the government has not planned any resettlement sites for the Rohingya in Rathedaung, one of the three towns that make up the northern part of Rakhine state.
It was their home before thousands of Muslims fled.
There are only a few remaining villages in Rohingya.
Myo Nyunt, a spokesman for the ruling party, said the reconstruction work in northern Rakhine State was driven by \"security and administration\" needs.
\"If we rebuild as before, it is difficult to control for security reasons,\" he said . \".
\"So for security, we have to build it systematically so that terrorists don\'t hide.
\"Li Yanhai, United StatesN.
The human rights rapporteur said that the government\'s plan reveals an attempt to \"re-
Engineers in Rakhine state will create apartheid
As is the case in the region.
\"They want to put all the Rohingya in one or a couple more like long-
\"They can monitor the long term camp very closely,\" she said . \".
Dozens of refugees told Reuters they wanted to return to their homes they had left.
Many have expressed concern that the new settlement, which is part of the government\'s plan of action to control it, will disappear
There is a precedent: nearly 130,000 Muslims have been living in refugee camps in Rakhine state since the community bloodshed occurred in 2012.
Their home was burned down by Buddhist neighbors, and about 200 people were killed, most of them Rohingya.
The government has promised to close the camps, but most remain open.
The Rohingya call them \"open --air prisons.
\"Residents are prohibited from leaving, with poor conditions and limited access to education and health care for residents.
Christopher Sidotti, a member of the United Nations --
The Myanmar mission said the concerns expressed by the refugees were \"entirely reasonable \".
\"The Rohingya, who are still in Myanmar, live in isolated camps or slums in cities or villages and cannot be relocated, their livelihoods are cut off, there is no medical service, and if there is, it is not sufficient, sidoti said: \"Their children can go to school. \".
People in Rakhine state say they also seem to have a resettlement plan for the remaining Rohingya.
According to Rohingya residents and a Buddhist elder, authorities have started building new homes for Muslims on the banks of the river near the village of gudarpinin.
They said the work continued despite protests by 76 Rohingya families still living in the village.
The main obstacle to the return of the \"back to level\" Rohingya is Myanmar\'s request for refugees to accept the national identity card, a residence document that conveys a lack of citizenship.
The Rohingya strongly opposed the card called NVC.
They said that although they were born in Myanmar, the documents made them new arrivals who were not worthy of becoming citizens.
Over the past 50 years, Myanmar\'s military has increasingly linked citizenship to race and race.
Today, Aung San Suu Kyi\'s government insists on the list of 135 \"national races --
Legacy of the junta
Determine who is a citizen.
The Rohingya are not on the list.
Their status has declined over time.
In 2015, quasi
At that time, the ruling Burmese civilian government deprived the Rohingya of their temporary identity documents, the so-called \"white card\", and deprived them of their right to vote in national elections that year.
The government is now urging the Rohingya to accept the NVC as a \"first step\" in citizenship \".
\"How do we accept NVC?
\"Bo Islam, Tang Enzar, a pharmacist.
He retained his family\'s old identity documents, including those of his father and grandfather, as proof that they once had citizenship as they did with other Burmese.
\"It\'s like the student has passed the entrance exam and then he is asked to go back to the first grade,\" he said . \".
More than a dozen refugees in the Cox Bazar refugee camp in Bangladesh recently said the official pressure to accept their identity cards was the reason for their eventual escape.
They told about being beaten by soldiers and border police because they refused to accept cards and were prevented from traveling because they did not have them.
These restrictions and night curfews mean that many Rohingya cannot reach the fields or markets where they buy food.
Four refugees arriving in Bangladesh in recent months said they had begged for food before leaving.
Five Rohingya said they had forced labor for the army.
Mohammed Rafik, 20, who arrived at the camp on September, said he was forced to work in the 565 Light Infantry Battalion in the East township of Buda.
He dug holes, cleared the compound, and cut grass.
\"If someone slack off at work, the soldiers will aim at their guns and threaten them,\" he said . \".
\"I think we can survive there and things will improve.
But I can\'t force any more labor. So I came here.
\"In the camp, many Rohingya still dream of going back.
For the sake of his children, Nur Islam hopes that they will eventually return to their homes in Myanmar.
\"We want to go back for our children,\" he said . \".
\"Our children have lost their future. \"(
In the Poppy McPherson, Simon Lewis, Thu Aung, Siddiqui Shoon, and Zeba described in this report.
Editor Peter hehlberg and Anthony Slodkowski)