29 Sep 2017

Don't know anything about Rohingya women's desperate situation? Most people don't.

In a world, where Rohingya ethnic cleansing isn't front page news, it is unlikely that the raped women of this minority ever will either.

Zuzanna Piechowicz
Zuzanna Piechowicz Tok FM, Poland
Source: Tok FM
Don't know anything about Rohingya women's desperate situation? Most people don't. - NewsMavens
Rohingya children. Firdaus Latif/Wikicommons

Why this story matters:

Algeria, Rwanda, Bosnia, Syria, and now Myanmar. Just a few of the places where rape, aka the "cheapest weapon of mass destruction", was deployed.

Sexual violence has been and continues to be a military strategy. War doesn't need bullets, bombs or tanks. All it needs is for commanders to turn a blind eye, and victims to keep quiet.

Why have I chosen to recommend this story? Because in a world, where Rohingya ethnic cleansing isn't front page news, there is no chance for the raped women from the minority to be, either. If we don't give enough media attention to them, they have lower chances of getting help or support, and there is less chance of international pressure being put on Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

According to the UN, Myanmar's Rohingya are the most persecuted minority in the world. They are also the largest group of stateless people. Myanmar's authorities call them "Bengali Muslims", denying them not only the right to Myanmar citizenship but to being in the country at all. It is not without reason that Nobel peace prize winner and Myanmar leader San Suu Kyi has never used the word "Rohingya". Should she do it, she would automatically admit that the Rohingya are subjects in Myanmar.

Meanwhile, has said that the burning of Rohingya villages in Rakhine State is a meticulously planned operation.

My heart cries out: "How is it possible that San Suu Kyi has a Nobel peace prize?"

And what does reason tell me? It says, with great sadness, that the first and easiest victims of politics are the weakest. And Rohingya women are the weakest of the weak.

Details from the story:

  • UN doctors reported that Rohingya women are the victims of mass rapes.
  • Myanmar's rulers deny the allegations, saying its anti-government propaganda.
  • They say the ethnic cleansing, the methodical burning of the Muslim-minorities villages, which have forced more than 400,000 people to flee, are civilian protection measures.
  • Patients told doctors they were raped by Myanmar soldiers.
  • Amnesty International says the genocide in Myanmar is ongoing.
  • Nobel Peace Prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi has never uttered the word "Rohingya".

Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

The information and views set out on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
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