Activist groups have accused the Burmese army of burning down villages and shooting Rohingya Muslim civilians as part of a crackdown on insurgents in Rakhine state.
Violence has driven thousands of Rohingya Muslims fleeing towards Bangladesh for safety, along with a smaller exodus of ethnic Rakhine Buddhists, where they face growing danger of sickness and attempts by the Bangladesh authorities to send them home.
The Burmese government has blamed Rohingya insurgents for the violence, including the arson.
New York-based Human Rights Watch said satellite photos appear to show widespread burning in 10 areas of northern Rakhine.
While the causes of the fires could not be ascertained, it noted that it “compared the locations of these fires with witness statements it has collected and media reports, and found a correlation with some reported incidents where residences have allegedly been deliberately burned.”
The Rohingya have faced severe discrimination and were the targets of violence in 2012 that killed hundreds and drove about 140,000 people — predominantly Rohingya — from their homes to camps for the internally displaced, where most remain.
The government refuses to recognise Rohingya as a legitimate native ethnic minority and most Rohingya are denied citizenship and its rights.