At least 6,700 Rohingya were killed in the month after violence broke out in Myanmar in August, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says.
Based on surveys of refugees in Bangladesh, the number is much higher than Myanmar’s official figure of 400.
MSF said it was “the clearest indication yet of the widespread v i o l e n c e ” by Myanma r authorities.
The Myanmar military blames the violence on “terrorists” and has denied any wrongdoing.
More than 647,000 Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh since August, MSF says.
The aid group’s survey found that at least 9,000 Rohingya died in Myanmar, also known as Burma, between August 25 and September 24.
“In the most conservative estimations” at least 6,700 of those deaths have been caused by violence, including at least 730 children under the age of five, according to MSF.
Previously, the armed forces stated that around 400 people had been killed, most of them described as Muslim terrorists.
There have been plenty of detailed reports by journalists and researchers, based on interviews conducted with refugees, which make it hard to dispute that terrible human rights abuses took place at the hands of the security forces.
This well-researched figure by MSF suggests the operation conducted by the military was brutal enough to raise the possibility of taking a case to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity.
The problem would be that Myanmar has not ratified the Rome Statute of the ICC and is not bound to co-operate with it. Bringing a case would require the approval of all five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, and China has until now given its full support to the Myanmar government’s handling of the crisis.
The military crackdown began on August 25 after Rohingya Arsa militants attacked more than 30 police posts.
After an internal investigation, the Myanmar army in November exonerated itself of any blame regarding the crisis.
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