Of the 204 people individually interviewed by a team of UN human rights investigators, the vast majority reported witnessing killings, and almost half reported having a family member who was killed as well as family members who were missing. Of the 101 women interviewed, more than half reported having suffered rape or other forms of sexual violence.
Especially revolting were the accounts of children – including an eight-month old, a five-year-old and a six-year-old – who were slaughtered with knives. One mother recounted how her five-year-old daughter was trying to protect her from rape when a man "took out a long knife and killed her by slitting her throat". In another case, an eight-month-old baby was reportedly killed while his mother was gang-raped by five security officers.
"The devastating cruelty to which these Rohingya children have been subjected is unbearable – what kind of hatred could make a man stab a baby crying out for his mother’s milk? And for the mother to witness this murder while she is being gang-raped by the very security forces who should be protecting her – what kind of 'clearance operation' is this? What national security goals could possibly be served by this?" High Commissioner Zeid said, noting the report suggests the recent level of violence to be unprecedented.
At the request of the High Commissioner, an OHCHR four-member team was granted access to Bangladesh from January 8-23, 2017 to interview Rohingyas who had entered Bangladesh from northern Rakhine State in the aftermath of the October 9, 2016 attacks.
The team gathered testimony from more than 220 people who had fled Rakhine state, conducting interviews from January 12-21, 2017 in the district of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
Here are a few of the accounts reflecting the horrible nightmare inflicted upon the Rohingya:
An 18-year old girl from Kyet Yoe Pyin lost her mother in a knife attack: "My mother was rather old, over 60, so when the military came she could not run very well, so we saw them catch her and cut her throat with a long knife."
A resident of Laung Don informed OHCHR: "The military rounded me and some 85 other villagers up. They tied our hands behind our backs. We were taken to an open space, where we were forced to sit in a stress position, with our body bent and looking down towards the ground. They were hitting us with rifle butts, wooden sticks, kicking and punching us, inflicting severe injuries. An elderly villager was beaten to death by five army officers in front of our eyes."
A mother of four from Pwint Hpyu Chaung: "I fled together with my four children. I was holding and carrying the two youngest. My two oldest children, my daughter who was six years old and my son who was 10, were behind me. When the armed men were running after me, I hid behind some trees and bushes. The men caught my two oldest children and killed them. They used a knife of the kind we use to slaughter goats. I saw this from where I was hiding."
A 27-year old old fisherman from Kyein Chaung: "During their operations, the army entered our house, where they found my mother, wife and sister at home. They took my 18-year-old sister to nearby bushes and gang-raped her. She was brought back after the rape. She was in a critical situation and died the same day. I was in the canal fishing and upon my return, I found her dead."
"They would also press our breasts and put hands on other private parts in the name of searching for objects we were hiding. They did this to me, my daughter and my daughter-in-law. They did this in front of everyone in the paddy field, it was so embarrassing. They even touched my seven-year-old daughter on her chest and near her private parts.” 45-year-old woman from U Shey Kya.
The accounts from the report conclude that the widespread violations against the Rohingya population indicate the very likely commission of crimes against humanity.