My husband was beaten to a pulp. We left him behind on the other side. I couldn’t find my youngest child.
Danwatch photographer Shafiur Rahman has visited the border area of Bangladesh close to Myanmar. At the moment members of the Muslim minority, Rohingya are fleeing murder and rape committed by Myanmar’s security forces.
Shafiur’s portraits and the testimony of the women describes a horrifying situation in Myanmar, one which the writer Azeem Ibrahim describes as a hidden genocide in his aptly named book “The Rohingyas – Inside Myanmar’s Hidden Genocide” ( 2016).
These developments are not new and a UN report from last week suggests that gang rapes, beatings, and killings of men, women, and children are common in the northern Myanmar. Of the 204 interviewed people, the vast majority reported witnessing killings. Half reported having a family member who was killed, while half of the women interviewed reported having suffered rape or other forms of sexual violence.
They kept me as long as they wanted to. Those who came at 8pm raped me till 12am; and those who came at 12am, stayed till 1am. In this way, they did whatever they wanted to.
The conflicts in Myanmar
The violent attacks against the Rohingya’s are primarily committed by Myanmar’s security forces in the Rhakin State, but there is a general tendency in the predominantly Buddhist population towards discrimination and exclusion of the Muslim minority. A UN report shows that the segregation between Muslims and Buddhists is excessive in Myanmar, especially in the Rhakin State where the majority of Muslims live.
The Muslim minority Rohingya is not recognized as a distinct ethnic group in Myanmar because the Buddhist minority view the Rohingya population as illegal immigrants. This means that the majority of the Muslims are stateless and have no civil rights.
The same UN report shows that the conflicts in the Rhakin State have increased during the last couple of years while the military has become more and more aggressive. The military junta surrendered in 2011, but the military still has excessive influence in Myanmar and in the Rhakin State. The UN report shows that the military controls the western province of Myanmar.
UN estimates that 66,000 Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since October 2016.
They taunted me and tortured me. They put pictures of my rape on the internet. Even the people of my neighbourhood tormented me a lot.
My husband was a religious scholar. They took him away. How will I manage with my children?