Inside The Brutal World of Myanmar’s Rohingya



Rohingya Muslim men stand at U Shey Kya village outside Maugndaw in Rakhine state, Myanmar October 27, 2016. -- Reuters


MYANMAR — In an Our World report titled Freedom and Fear in Myanmar veteran BBC correspondent Jonah Fisher gives the outside world a rare inside look at the brutal world of Myanmar’s Rohingya under the rule of Noble laureate Aung San Suu Ky.

The 23-minute long documentary comes in the wake of a damming report last week by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, during which he said the ongoing Myanmar military operation in Rakhine State “appears to me to amount to possible commission of crimes against humanity, which warrants the attention of the International Criminal Court (ICC)”.

In Freedom and Fear in Myanmar Mr Fisher interviews Rohingya survivors of the brutal military crackdown who fled to neighbouring Bangladesh, in addition to presenting cellphone video allegedly taken inside Rakhine State.

Highlighting the distorted media coverage provided of events inside Myanmar, one video clip by State-owned MRTV shows a young Rohingya woman being interviewed by a so-called investigation team set up by Ms Suu Ky against an international out-calling for an investigation into the numerous claims of abuse and rape by the Myanmar military.

Led by a government vice president and a former Myanmar Army general, the investigation team lacks credibility in the eyes of international community, and contains not a single Rohingya member.

When the young women confirms that she did not see an alleged group rape take place, but saw the women bleeding from their vaginas when they later emerged from the forest, she is told “don’t mention the bleeding. So, you didn’t see the rape. So it’s not true”.

In another part of the report a young Rohingya woman tells of how soldiers “snatched and tore all of my clothes and pushed me on the ground. Two men raped me and then a third”, she says, while battling back tears.

Another Rohingya survivor, Mohammed Salam, tells of seeing his village on fire, adding he saw charred bodies scattered around the burned area.

Freedom and Fear in Myanmar also gives viewers a glimpse the racial bigotry and hatred carried by Buddhists in Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State, against the Rohingya.

In an interview in a local tea shop, one man says “in my opinion it’s not possible to live together”; another says the Rohingya “should be sent to a Muslim State”.

The sometimes graphic first-hand reports and descriptions in Freedom and Fear in Myanmar make it compelling viewing for those interested in a rare look inside the life of Myanmar’s Rohingya.

Freedom and Fear in Myanmar comes out as Myanmar prepares to appear before the 34th Regular Session of the UNHRC. The session is due to be streamed live at 18:30 Yangon time (13:00 GMT) on March 13, 2017 on UN Web TV and is expected to be available for on-demand viewing later.



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