8 February 2017: A 25-year old woman from Kyet Yoe Pyin in Northern Maungdaw Township, Myanmar: “After the rape I was struggling to urinate, but my baby inside me is still alive. I was bleeding from my vagina for 17 days. When I came here to Bangladesh, about 22 days after I was raped …at the clinic they inserted a small pipe into my urinary tract which helped me to urinate. But when it was removed I could still not urinate, so then I was brought to the hospital.. They tested me there and saw that the rape had caused an infection. I felt like I would die of the pain. They gave me a medicine that I must take for several months, and now I can fortunately urinate again.”
A mother of three from the same village: “They held me tight and I was raped by one of them. My five-year old daughter tried to protect me, she was screaming, one of the men took out a long knife and killed her by slitting her throat.”
An 11-year-old girl from Yae Khat Chaung Gwa Son: “After entering our house, the army apprehended us. They pushed my mother on the ground. They removed her clothes, and four officers raped her. They also slaughtered my father, a prayer leader, just before raping my mother. After a few minutes, they burnt the house with a rocket, with my mother inside. All this happened before my eyes.”
One eye witness from Dar Gyi Zar: “Two helicopters were deployed to our village. The helicopters flew over the village for over 20 minutes, firing randomly at the villagers. The first round of attack was carried out from a higher altitude, but in the second and third rounds, they flew just over the rooftops of the houses. Seven members of my brother’s family in-law were killed in the helicopter attack.”
These harrowing testimonials are from members of the Rohingya Muslim minority, perhaps the worst persecuted group in the modern world. The victims quoted here are only a few from a 43-page report the UN’s human rights arm made public on February 3. A four-member team from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights visited Bangladesh from 8 to 23 January to interview displaced Rohingyas, tens of thousands of whom have sought refuge in Bangladesh ever since Burmese security forces unleashed a terror campaign killing scores, raping, burning alive, torturing and decimating villages after villages.
And who is the Saddam Hussein here “cleansing” the Kurds?
None other than a government under the celebrated leadership of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, the State Counsellor of Myanmar.
This is not to say Ms Suu Kyi is directly involved in commissioning this ethnic cleansing. She may not have blood on her hands but she is guilty all the same for attempting to cover the blood stains left behind by, what it appears to be, a well-planned race-based offensive by her security forces.
Numerous media reports and interviews show her failure to acknowledge the full scale of the violence meted out on the ethnic minority, not merely now but for decades after decades. As a globally respected peace activist and political leader, human rights activists around the world expected her to do more and say more. However, she did not and has not until now. She is definitely not proactive enough in safeguarding the rights of the Rohingyas. At the most, she urged the western media to understand the “complexities” of the socio-political context of her country.
The argument that she does not have a complete control over the army generals due to a deep-rooted military culture is baseless. This theory does not save her from the moral compass. Agreed for a moment that the generals do not listen to her but what did she do to make them listen and cooperate? The world has not seen any evidence of her efforts. She has failed her Nobel Peace Prize. She has failed her fans from across the world.
According to OHCHR, the Government of Myanmar repeatedly declined “to grant it unrestricted access to the worst-affected areas of northern Rakhine state” where most Rohingyas live. Why would Aung San Suu Kyi’s government not want UN to access areas where these persecuted Muslims live if it had not been committing crimes against humanity? Is it not in the same pattern as President Assad not allowing access to areas hit ruthlessly by his tanks and fighter jets? She must not forget that it was UN and the international community who continually stood by her as she remained under house arrest for decades.
As demanded by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, “the Government of Myanmar must immediately halt these grave human rights violations against its own people, instead of continuing to deny they have occurred.”
If she does not stop playing defensive every time media raises the uncomfortable Rohingya question, history would one day judge Ms Suu Kyi for her complicity with her marauding troops who rape women and then slit their throats in front of their children.