This week I travelled to the border of Myanmar and Bangladesh where I practised medicine and undertook the task of gathering evidence of the ongoing violence against the Rohingya people. I have heard first-hand accounts of what I believe amounts to genocide from refugees who have fled persecution and torture in Myanmar.
A report published on Friday 16th November by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, points at mounting evidence suggesting that a genocide is taking place. The Myanmar Army has been described as launching “clearance operations” to not only encourage Rohingya to leave Myanmar, but also to commit large-scale atrocities. Similar accounts were published by Human Rights Watch on Friday 16th November.
One man I spoke to described witnessing a night where the army arrived and killed and mutilated all the men in a village of 3,000 people. The women were dragged by their hair and gang raped. As their children ran away, soldiers chased them, and, once captured, were thrown alive into fires.
Since the crisis began, 920,000 people have fled Myanmar and are in the camps on the Bangladesh/Myanmar border. Two thirds of these people have crossed since 25 August. A further 200,000 people are expected to flee violence in Myanmar by the end of the year. With the cost of making the crossing by boat set at $100, it is of increasing concern what is happening to these refugees who cannot afford to seek safe refuge.
I'll be taking this issue back to Parliament, and urging the UK Government to take urgent action.