Ro­hingya peo­ple can’t for­get their hor­ror.. we should not for­get them

Sunday Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

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

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