The chilling experiences of the Rohingya children who fled their homes in Rakhine State of Myanmar have been laid bare in a new report released by Save the Children.
“The report, titled ‘Horrors I will never forget,’ paints a disturbing picture of the systematic violence, rape and forced evictions faced by many of the 600,000 Rohingya who arrived in Bangladesh since August 25 this year, almost 60% of whom are children," Save the Children Bangladesh Country Director Mark Pierce said in a media release on Friday.
"These children, who have endured so much suffering, were desperate with no place to go," Pierce said, adding that it is only thanks to the Government of Bangladesh that these children might one day have the chance to lead happy lives.
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Shadibabiran, a 16-year-old girl and one of the victims, told Save the Children staff: “Some soldiers took me and two other girls into a house. They hit me in the face with a gun, kicked me in my chest, and stamped on my arms and legs. Then I was raped by three soldiers. They raped me for about two hours and at some stage I fainted."
The soldiers broke one of her ribs, Shadibabiran said. "It was very painful and I could hardly breathe. I still have difficulty breathing, but I haven't been to a doctor as I feel too ashamed."
Twenty-four-year-old Rehema revealed how she had witnessed a woman and a baby being burnt alive.
"I saw a soldier pour gasoline over a heavily pregnant woman. Then he set her on fire," she said. "Another soldier ripped a baby from his mother's arms and threw him into the fire. His name was Sahab and he was not even a year old. I will never forget their screams."
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The humanitarian agency was also grateful to be able to immediately respond to the influx of Rohingya families fleeing into Bangladesh.
Pierce said Save the Children was on the ground and scaling up their response days after August 25.
"Having read the horrific accounts in this report, I am so grateful for the ongoing support of the local, national and global communities. Together, we will protect and nurture Rohingya children who have already endured so much," he said.
The real names of the victims were changed to protect their identity.