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Horrors I will never forget

22 February 2018, Voices from the Field, Emergencies

New Save the Children report lays bare horrific sexual crimes against girls and women in Myanmar.

Warning: This article contains content relating to violence against children and adults, including sexual violence, that some readers may find distressing.

“When the military came to our village, two of the soldiers grabbed a teenage girl. Then they gang-raped her in front of the whole village.

“Those who tried to help her were beaten up by the other soldiers. Then they started firing at people, so we ran to a nearby village.

“Eventually the girl managed to run away and made it to the village where most of us had fled. She was in a very bad state.

“Her parents had been killed trying to help her. So I washed her and I tried to treat her injuries. She was only 14 years old and she was bleeding heavily. After four days she died.” — Kushida*, female, 40 years old

Save the Children’s new report, Horrors I Will Never Forget, is a shocking, real-life storybook containing tales like the one above. It is visceral and unforgettable. And it points to widespread atrocities wreaked upon a minority group, the Rohingya, that have forced more than 600,000 to flee across the border to Bangladesh in just over two months.

Released today, the report calls for an immediate end to the violence and for world leaders to use every means of diplomatic leverage to influence the conflict.

“Nothing should be off the table; they must use all financial and diplomatic avenues available to end the crisis and protect children,” says Mat Tinkler, Save the Children Australia’s head of policy and international programs.

“We want to see an immediate end to the violence, for perpetrators of this horror to be brought to justice and for unhindered humanitarian access to be allowed in northern Rakhine State.

“Beyond this we must also rebuild the shattered young lives of Rohingya children. From those I talked to in the camps, it is clear that many children are deeply distressed. We must ensure that these children receive the vital care and support they need to recover.”

The plight of the Rohingya people has quickly become the fastest-growing humanitarian crisis in the world today.

Read the stories in Horrors I Will Never Forget.

Header photograph: GMB Akash/Panos Pictures/Save the Children
*Name changed to protect her identity.

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