Rohingya people can’t forget their horror.. we should not forget them
Up at 5:30am and off to the camps with Christian Aid. The sheer scale has to be seen to be believed – the camps go on for as far as the eye can see, over hills, and housing more people than Liverpool and Manchester combined. I meet people who have been queueing since dawn for treatment at the MSF clinic. Medics are facing challenges with disease outbreaks.
Walking through the camps, I am staggered by the number of lone children and the generosity of the families who are helping to support them.
Christian Aid show me their Community Kitchen, a safe space for women and children to forge community ties. Here, women are keen to tell me their stories – something they have never had the opportunity to do so before. I meet Humaira, whose young son was murdered when the army stormed her village.
She tells me how she wanted to kill herself but was kept alive by her desire to locate his body and bury him.
After two days of searching, and at risk of being caught by the military, she eventually decided to escape. She still lives with the pain of not being able to bury him. Next, I meet Subara, who tells me how military snatched her year-old son from her arms and knifed him to death in front of her. The stories are simply heart-wrenching.
Sadly, these are not unique accounts. The strength of these women, and those who crawled over the border to safety I visit a number of clinics, including the MedGlobal centre where I spent time last year. It really is fantastic to see a new breastfeeding room and play areas. Children regularly show symptoms of malnourishment, while women are developing skin conditions and infections as they are too scared to use the washrooms at night – and there is no privacy in the day. Doctors have been treating women who have given birth to children who were the result of rape. There were stories of women dying from blood loss after attempting a DIY abortion, unable to face the reminder of the trauma they experienced. It has been an exhausting and emotional few days and I’ve spoken to some awe-inspiring women about the issues they face every day in the camps. The spirit is one of resilience, which is remarkable given the horrors they have endured.
With constant fear of being forcibly returned to Myanmar, or a cyclone levelling the camp to matchsticks, each day is a worry. The resounding message from these people is that they want justice for their loved ones who were killed. Why should their lives be worth any less than yours or mine? I will continue to put pressure on Jeremy Hunt and the Government to seek justice in the international courts for the Rohingya. Infanticide and rape as a weapon of war, indeed genocide, cannot go unpunished.
Mum tells me of army knifing her baby in front of her ROSENA ALLIN-KHAN ON HORROR OF CRISIS
YOUNG VICTIMS MP with children at Jamtoli refugee camp while seven months pregnant, is inspiring.
CARING HANDS Rosena working as a doctor at a MedGlobal clinic