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Labour MP for Tooting and Accident and Emergency Registrar Dr Rosena Allin-Khan witnessed first hand the horrors faced by the Rohingya people in Myanmar when she visited refugee camps along the border. In a moving and powerful despatch for the NASUWT's International Solidarity magazine, Dr Allin-Khan, pictured above, describes what she saw.
 
I have visited the Rohingya refugee camps on the border of Bangladesh and Myanmar twice in my capacity as a doctor. 
 
Last year, I met refugees crossing the border and saw the most brutal injuries. During this visit, I heard devastating first-hand accounts of mothers having their babies ripped from their arms and murdered with the same knives used to slice off their own breasts. A generation of children born out of rape, women who have been brutally violated and men who have carried their families for 15 days, without food, escaping genocide with just the shirts on their backs. 
 
In October, I returned to the camps and heard how, despite the uncertainty surrounding their futures, people felt relief at finally being able to sleep at night. 
 
I spoke with Humaira whose young son was murdered when the army stormed her village. She told me how she wanted to kill herself but was kept alive by her desire to locate her son's body and bury him. After two pain-staking days of searching, and at risk of being caught by the military she eventually decided to escape. She still lives with the pain of not being able to bury her son. In a room of twenty to thirty women, all had similar heart-wrenching stories to tell. 
 
Whilst working in the clinics, I saw children presenting with symptoms of malnourishment, while women arrived with skin conditions and infections as they are too scared to use the washrooms at night, and there is no privacy for them to do so in the day. 
 
Across the clinics I visited, doctors told me that they have been treating women who have given birth to children who were the result of rape and were forced to make the difficult decision on whether to keep their babies. There were stories of women dying from major blood loss after attempting a DIY abortion at home, as they could not face the reminder of the trauma they experienced.
 
Having escaped incomprehensible brutality, and despite condemnation by the UN, there are now plans to forcibly repatriate thousands of refugees. 
 
Just last month, refugees were fleeing camps in fear and others attempted suicide having been named on the list of 4,355 Rohingya refugees for imminent return, without their consent. Those repatriations have been halted for the time being but are due to start again in the New Year.
 
The UK Government, as the penholder for Myanmar on the UN Security Council has a real leadership opportunity. One year ago, Minister Field stated in this House that if the UN found evidence of genocide, he would support a referral to the International Criminal Court. However, just last month, Minister Field stated, in writing, that there is insufficient support amongst Security Council members for an ICC referral at this time. Just how much more suffering do the Rohingya need to endure before the UK Government is forced to act?
 
I will continue to urge the Government to take action for the Rohingya who are crying out for justice. Humanity should have no borders. 
 
The NASUWT is working closely with Burma Campaign UK and is highlighting the impact of the refugee crisis in Myanmar and the need for urgent action by the UK government.
 
Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT Deputy General Secretary said: “The continuing humanitarian crisis in Myanmar reminds us of the significant work of trade unions and other civil society organisations to continue to campaign against these and other violations taking place around the world.”

 
 

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