‘Only justice can heal our wounds’
Rohingyas demand Myanmar be held to account at the United Nations’ top court in The Hague, where Myanmar leader and Nobel peace prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is set to defend the country against charges of genocide of the minority community.
Rohingyas housed in sprawling refugee camps in southern Bangladesh reacted strongly yesterday to the prospect of Suu Kyi appearing this week at The International Court of Justice in hearings set for December 10 to 12.
“We witnessed rape, torture and killings. We saw many killed before our eyes. All we could do was run while our homes burned. Now it is time for the global community to act and hold Myanmar accountable for the horrific crimes they committed. They must be held accountable for genocide against the Rohingya,” said Mohammed Zobayer, 19, who teaches at a learning centre in the camps.
“Suu Kyi spoke of rape being used by the army as a weapon before she came to power, but she is now the defender of the army. Shame!
“We are eagerly waiting for the hearings ... but are not sure if we will be able to hear it at all because of the poor internet connectivity here.”
AN ICON OF GENOCIDE
Nur Alam, 65, whose son was shot dead by the army after the August 2017 crackdown, said, “Once Aung San Suu Kyi was an icon of peace and we had huge expectations that things would change when she came to power.
“We prayed for her, but she has now become an icon of genocide. Instead of protecting us, she has joined hands with the killers. Now she is going to defend the killers. We hate her. Shame on her.”
He went on, “She and the army and the killers of my son must all be punished. I have longed for this day to come. I’ll have no regrets in life if I see they are punished.”
Rashid Ahmed, 35, who says 12 of his family members were killed by the Myanmar army, “Only justice can heal our wounds. I know I’ll never get them back, but they will rest in peace when their killers are punished.”
Momtaz Begum, 31, holding her three-year-old son in her lap, said in tears, “The army killed my husband. They raped me and torched my house, they stabbed my six-year-old daughter in the head.”
She further said, “I have learned that there will be a trial of Aung San Suu Kyi and the army. We demand the trial of Suu Kyi and the military. Why did they kill our innocent people, our kids? Why did they torture and rape our women? We demand justice.”