Myanmar on Trial

By Lianain Films

16 April 2020

 

TC

Visuals

 

Audio

Fact check

0:00

GRAPHIC:
Warning etc.

 

This programme contains material that may be distressing to some viewers.

 

0:16

Secret footage - WS villages on fire  

VO

Villages burnt to the ground.

 

 

0:21

Secret footage - Rohingya wading through river to flee

VO

Hundreds of thousands displaced.

 

 

0:24

Secret footage – dead bodies

VO

Mass murder.

 

 

0:26

Gambia rep at the ICJ

 

SOT

There is compelling evidence of genocide and genocidal intent.

 

 

0:32

UN footage – Gambia v Myanmar hearing at the Hague

VO

The Gambia has taken Myanmar to the International Court of Justice - accusing it’s government of orchestrating a campaign of destruction against the Rohingya people.

 

The Gambia’s application to the International Court of Justice:

https://www.icj-cij.org/files/case-related/178/178-20191111-APP-01-00-EN.pdf

0:42

Aung San Suu Kyi

SOT

There will be no tolerance of human rights violations in the Rakhine.

 

 

0:47

Secret footage – woman dead, after being hit in crossfire

Upsound

The shrapnel entered through here and went out from there.

 

VO

But now, we have evidence showing that for many Rohingya – the nightmare continues.

 

 

0:55

Secret footage – boy caught in crossfire between AA and military

 

 

Secret footage - Karima Khatun in tears

Upsound

Go inside the house! Go inside the house! They are looking for the crowd to fire on!

 

VO

As the world awaits a verdict, 101 East has been given access to years of secret videos…

 

 

1:09

Scared villagers in Nyaung Chaung

VO

and we travel to Myanmar’s Rakhine state, to meet a people still facing danger and discrimination.

 

 

 

Fade

Fade

 

1:22

AP footage of soldiers in Northern Rakhine State in 2016

 

 

VO

The Gambia’s case is centred around a brutal military crackdown which begin in late 2016, in response to attacks by an armed Rohingya group.

 

It led to a mass exodus of Rohingya into neighbouring Bangladesh in the months that followed.

 

The Gambia’s application to the International Court of Justice: https://www.icj-cij.org/files/case-related/178/178-20191111-APP-01-00-EN.pdf

 

“…against the backdrop of longstanding persecution and discrimination, from around October 2016 the Myanmar military (the “Tatmadaw”) and other Myanmar security forces began widespread and systematic “clearance operations” – the term that Myanmar itself uses – against the Rohingya group. The genocidal acts committed during these operations were intended to destroy the Rohingya as a group, in whole or in part, by the use of mass murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, as well as the systematic destruction by fire of their villages, often with inhabitants locked inside burning houses. From August 2017 onwards, such genocidal acts continued with Myanmar’s resumption of “clearance operations” on a more massive and wider geographical scale.”

 

UNHCR in 2017 said that an estimated 43,000 Rohingya fled into Bangladesh by the end of 2016, with numbers growing into 2017 https://www.unhcr.org/ news/latest/ 2017/5/590990ff4/ 168000-rohingya-likely-fled-myanmar-since-2012-unhcr-report.html

 

1:49

Secret footage – burnt bodies in Dar Gyi Zar

 

 

Upsound

It’s 18th November, 2016. Here we can see the incident of killing and burning in Dar Gyi Zar. These are the dead bodies.

 

 

Human Rights Watch has also reported destruction in Dar Gyi Zar: https://www.hrw.org/ news/2016/12/13/burma-military-burned-villages-rakhine-state

 

2:01

Secret footage – burnt bodies in Dar Gyi Zar

VO

This video is one of many filmed by local activists, determined to expose the Rohingya’s plight to the world.

They are a rare glimpse inside Rakhine state, where journalists’ access is severely restricted.

 

 

2:21

Burnt bodies of children

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upsound

This is a leg. The boy would have been about 10 years old.

 

VO

101 East has reviewed and verified more than three years’ worth of footage.

 

It tells a horrific story.

 

Upsound

This is a six to seven month old child. I am not sure if you can see it clearly. This is the end of a leg. It has become like this after being burnt. Oh, Allah.

 

 

2:47

 

Rohingya activist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VO

At a secret location outside Myanmar, we meet a former member of the activist group.

 

For his safety, we’re hiding his identity.

 

SOT

There is no justice for us there. We want to show the world how the Myanmar government and the Rakhine are torturing us. That’s why we have uploaded many videos. To get justice.

 

 

 

3:17

 

Secret footage – interview with Karima Khatun, shortly after she was injured by the military

Upsound

 

VO

He filmed this interview just before the mass exodus in 2017, that saw hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh.

 

Upsound

Karima

I am exhausted, I have no more strength. I’ve run out of tears.

 

Activist

Were you holding your son?

 

Karima

Oh, how could I let my son go? I was just holding him. The bullet hit his stomach and his intestines came out.

 

 

3:51

Cover first half with pics of Karima

SOT

Activist

The bullet went through the baby and then into the mother. It was very hard. I felt the world was ending.

 

 

4:03

GVS Cox’s Bazar camps

VO

Nearly three years on, we manage to track down the woman in the video.

 

 

4:08

Karima Khatun outside her hut in Cox’s Bazar

VO

She now lives in Bangladesh, inside the world’s largest refugee camp.

 

 

4:15

Karima washes plates – scars visible on hand

VO

The scars on Karima Khatun’s arm are a constant reminder of what happened to her in Myanmar.

She says hundreds of soldiers attacked her home in Chut Pyin Village on August the 27th 2017, when she and her baby were shot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Physicians for Human Rights has reported on the attack on Chut Pyin Village on 27 August 2017:

https://reliefweb.int/ report/myanmar/please-tell-world-what-they-have-done-us-chut-pyin-massacre-forensic-evidence

 

4:34

Karima Khatun

Rohingya Refugee

 

 

SOT

My baby was almost dead in my arms but I couldn’t get up as the military were in position. I had to cover his mouth. I couldn’t get up and put his intestines back in. My arm got hit. My baby died on the spot.

 

 

4:49

Karima inside her hut at the refugee camp

VO

Karima’s husband was also killed in the attack, along with three other members of their family and hundreds of her fellow villagers.

 

 

5:00

Karima Khatun

Rohingya Refugee

 

 

SOT

First, they shot the religious leaders and then the school teachers. They didn’t want to spare a single teacher. All of them were killed. They entered houses, kicked the women and shot their husbands in front of them. They threw small children in the air and stabbed them in the stomach. They took the girls to the school and raped them.

 

 

5:22

Aung San Suu Kyi at the ICJ

 

VO

At the ICJ in the Hague, Aung San Suu Kyi says Chut Pyin was one of a dozen main conflict areas in 2017.

 

Upsound

ASSK

It is of the utmost importance that the court assesses the situation obtained on the ground in Rakhine dispassionately and accurately.

 

VO

She insists the military was merely responding to an armed Rohingya group who had targeted more than 30 police stations and an army base.

 

But she also says this:

 

 

Transcript of Aung San Suu Kyi’s testimony at the ICJ:

 

https:www.aljazeera.com/ news/2019/12/transcript-aung-san-suu-kyi-speech-icj-full-191212085257384.html

 

5:58

Aung San Suu Kyi

Myanmar Leader

 

 

SOT

It cannot be ruled out that disproportionate force was used by members of the Defence Services in some cases in disregard of international humanitarian law. If war crimes have been committed by members of Myanmar’s Defense Services, they will be prosecuted through our military justice system in accordance with Myanmar’s constitution.

 

 

6:23

Crowd singing, cheering, waving posters etc

Upsound

To protect the dignity of our country, we stand with Mother Suu!

VO

The case against Myanmar has galvanised Aung San Suu Kyi’s supporters back home.

One day before her testimony at the International Court of Justice, thousands gather in Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, in support of their leader.

 

6:48

Voxpop

Woman

SOT

There is a fight between two sides. The international view is different from the view in Myanmar. We are the ones suffering in this conflict. Mother went there to resolve the issue.

 

 

7:00

Crowd sings Myanmar’s national anthem

Upsound

We will sacrifice our lives to protect our country! This is our nation, our land and it belongs to us.

 

VO

For many here, the Gambia’s case is as an assault on the dignity and sovereignty of their country.

 

They insist the Rohingya are foreigners.

 

Upsound

And this is our very duty. To our invaluable land.

 

 

7:21

Voxpop

Man in white

SOT

Actually, we have only 135 ethnic groups.

Rohingyas are not citizens of this country. We don’t consider them our citizens.

 

 

7:31

WS Cox’s Bazar camps

VO

But Rohingya refugees now sheltering in Bangladesh insist Myanmar is their homeland.

 

 

7:45

Satara outside hut in Cox’s Bazar

Upsound

 

VO

Satara Begum doesn’t know if she can ever return.

 

She lost her husband during a military operation in August 2017.

 

They lived in Myo Thu Gyi, one of the 12 areas on Suu Kyi’s list.

 

As they were fleeing, her husband decided to go back to lock their door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Aung San Suu Kyi’s statement at the ICJ:

 

Myanmar’s defense services responded to the attacks of ARSA fighters by the use of ground forces. There were armed incidents in more than 60 locations. The main clashes occurred in 12 places: in Min Gyi (Tula Toli) village, Chut Pyin village, Maung Nu village, Gu Dar Pyin village, Alay Than Kyaw village, Myin Lut village, Inn Din village, Chein Khar Li (Koe Tan Kauk) village, Myo Thu Gyi ward, Kyauk Pan Du village, wards of Maungdaw Town, and southern Maungdaw.”

 

8:08

Satara Begum

Rohingya Refugee

SOT

My husband got shot in front of our eyes. When I saw that with my own eyes, the world fell apart. I thought it was written in my destiny. I had no other options so my children and I followed the other villagers who were fleeing.

 

 

8:30

Satara and kids inside their hut

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upsound

 

VO

Satara is now struggling to look after her five children.

 

The youngest is just a toddler.

 

Upsound

My children ask me, “Where is Dad? What happened to our Dad?” My children are very innocent and young. I don’t know what my children’s future will be. Only God knows.

 

 

9:00

Ayas feeding his kids inside their hut in Bangladesh refugee camp

Upsound

Your sister’s here. She’ll eat.

 

VO

Mohamad Ayas and his family also fled the same area for Bangladesh in 2017.

 

Upsound

There’s meat here.

 

 

9:13

Mohamad Ayas

Rohingya Refugee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VO

He’s kept a record of what happened there.

 

Upsound

In Myo Thu Gyi village, the total number of houses was 1,051. Of those 1,051, not one remains there anymore. Cleared, burnt down by the military. After burning them down, they bulldozed to clear the remains.

 

 

9:33

Myo Thu Gyi videos

Upsound

 

VO

Videos filmed by residents show the extent of the destruction. 

 

Ayas says the attack was unprovoked.

 

 

9:53

Mohamad Ayas

Rohingya Refugee

 

Cover with villagers’ footage of burnt village

 

 

SOT
I didn’t see anyone from my village fighting against the military. At the time, the military were firing rockets into the villages. Some people were running away with their children.

 

 

10:14

Cover with shots of Ayas going through his list

 

 

SOT
Among them, some were killed with knives, some were shot. Some elderly people who couldn’t run away, they locked them inside their houses and burnt them alive.

 

 

10:35

GVS – Ayas and other refugees in camp

VO

Myanmar’s government says it’s willing to take back refugees like Ayas.

 

But it wants them to register for a National Verification Card, or NVC – a process that will supposedly pave the way to citizenship.

 

But many Rohingya are reluctant.

 

The process assumes that they are “foreigners”, leading to fears that even if they are granted citizenship, they won’t have the same rights as regular citizens.

 

Ayas insists the Rohingya should be treated equally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/09/genocide-card-myanmar-rohingya-verification-scheme-condemned-190903012922259.html

 

 

The Guardian also reported on Rohingya being reluctant to return: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/21/not-without-our-rights-rohingya-refugees-refuse-to-return-to-myanmar

 

Al Jazeera report: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/09/genocide-card-myanmar-rohingya-verification-scheme-condemned-190903012922259.html


"The message from the Rohingya community is very clear- the NVC is not for us. We are not foreigners, we are indigenous and the NVC is a genocide card," said Khin Maung, a Rohingya refugee in Bangladesh and cofounder of the Rohingya Youth Association.”

 

11:19

Mohamad Ayas

Rohingya Refugee

 

 

SOT

Our citizenship rights, our confiscated things, our land and property, our right to education. Whatever rights that we and the community demand, if you can give me all these things, I’d go back in time for dinner.

 

 

11:35

Travelling shots from bus, and then boat on the way to Northern Rakhine State

 

*not sure if we should say “rare” as Florence visited a couple of weeks after us

 

Upsound car honk

 

VO

We’re visiting Rakhine state, on a rare government-supervised press tour.

 

From Yangon, it’s a half day journey by air, land and sea.

 

It’s five days since the ICJ handed down a preliminary ruling - ordering the Myanmar government to take all measures to protect the Rohingya from genocide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.icj-cij.org/files/case-related/178/178-20200123-PRE-01-00-EN.pdf

 

12:04

 

Armed border police, security checkpoints on the way to Maungdaw

Upsound

 

VO

We’ll be spending the night in Maungdaw, near the border with Bangladesh.

 

Security is tight on the drive up.

 

There are armed police everywhere.

 

 

12:17

Tracking shots past Myo Thu Gyi

 

 

VO

On our way, we pass Myo Thu Gyi.

 

There’s nothing to suggest this used to be home to a large Rohingya community.

 

A fence and new buildings have been erected.

 

The land is now occupied by a police outpost.

 

 

12:36

Entering district office, meeting with DA U Soe Aung

VO

Our first stop is a meeting with Maungdaw District Administrator U Soe Aung.

 

We ask for his reaction to the ICJ’s preliminary ruling.

 

 

12:50

U Soe Aung

Maungdaw District Administrator

 

Upsound

They are talking about genocide. There is no genocide here. About the ICJ and genocide, we have nothing to do with genocide. On. The local level. They said we shouldn’t destroy data and evidence. We didn’t destroy. You might have seen on your way here, that the burnt land is still as it was. We kept the land the way it was. We didn’t use it. So regarding the ICJ, there’s nothing else for us to do at the local level.

 

VO

We then ask him about Rohingya land that is now occupied by the government.

 

 

12:33

U Soe Aung

Maungdaw District Administrator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOT

Any land can be used if it’s for the development of the country.

 

VO

In his reply, the District Administrator uses the word ‘Bengali’ to refer to the Rohingya - a controversial term that implies that they are foreigners.  

 

SOT

If the owner returns, we will pay him compensation. But ‘Bengalis’ are not citizens. They are not owners. They only have a right to work the land.

 

 

14:07

Tracking shots through car window

Upsound

 

VO

During most of our three days in Northern Rakhine State, we follow a schedule set out by the Ministry of Information.

 

 

14:18

Arriving at village 1

Upsound

Minder

45 minutes!

 

James

45 minutes. We stay here?

 

Minder

Yeah!

 

James

We stay here 45 minutes OK.

 

 

14:23

Negotiating for time 

 

Upsound

James

30 minutes?

 

Minder

20 minutes!

 

James

20 minutes.

 

Minder

Yes.

 

 

14:28

Armed police in first village

 

VO

Armed police stand guard at the villages we visit.

 

 

14:33

Government camera guy filming as we get on boat

Upsound

 

VO

A government cameraman films us as we go about our work.

 

 

14:39

Minder records name of villager in Tatya village

 

 

Upsound

Minder

Your name?

 

Villager

My name is Sayed Karim

 

VO

And minders record the names of everyone we talk to, making it impossible to speak freely. 

 

 

14:48

Nervous villager in Tatya village

Upsound

Rabiul Hasan

We cannot talk about politics.

 

 

14:52

Kids in Ywa Ma Village singing, dancing

 

Upsound kids singing

 

VO

In Ywa Ma Village, children at an NGO funded centre are able to learn and play.

 

But most Rohingya can’t receive more than a high school education.

 

 

15:14

Musa outside child friendly space in Ywa Ma village

VO

Musa is 19 years old.

 

Upsound

Cape

Can you go to university?

 

Musa

I can’t. We cannot go to the university or college.

 

 

15:25

Sayed Ahmad

 

VO

Musa’s father Sayed Ahmad says it’s because he doesn’t have the right identity.

documents.

 

Identity documents are an ongoing problem for Rohingya: https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/feature/2018/03/01/identity-and-belonging-card-how-tattered-rohingya-ids-trace-trail-toward and https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/mec/2019/05/10/when-identity-documents-and-registration-produce-exclusion-lessons-from-rohingya-experiences-in-myanmar/

 

15:32

Sayad Ahmad

Rohingya villager

 

 

SOT

I applied for citizenship but I didn’t get it. One of my sons passed his matriculation exams but he couldn’t get a job.

 

 

15:43

Minders taking Musa’s name

Upsound minder

Musa.

 

VO

But then minders from the Ministry of Information take down Musa’s details and he declines to answer any more questions.

 

 

15:55

Maungdaw traffic

 

 

Upsound

 

VO

One afternoon, we manage to walk into downtown Maungdaw without our minders.

 

 

16:06

Trying to speak to man outside mosque, U Hla Thein interrupts

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upsound

 

Cape

We can talk to him.

 

VO

Outside a mosque a man agrees to talk to us.

 

Upsound Cape

I’d like to know if it’s OK for you living here?

 

U Hla Thein

Yes, OK, OK.

 

Cape

Any problems here?

 

U Hla Thein

No, everything is OK. In our town, there is no problem.

 

VO

But we’re interrupted before we can even begin, by the administrator of this area – U Hla Thein.

 

 

16:29

Conversation with U Hla Thein

Upsound

Cape

Do the Rohingya people living here face any restrictions, discrimination or difficulties?

 

U Hla Thein

Now? Nothing like this is happening. Everything is peaceful in the downtown area. For us, it’s peaceful in the downtown area. On the north side and the south side, we are fine. Everything is OK.

 

 

16:48

Phonecalls to villagers

Upsound dialing

 

VO

We finally find a way to speak without our minders listening in.

 

Rohingya villagers who have kept their distance during our visit have agreed to be interviewed by phone.

 

For security reasons, they’ve asked us to hide their identities.

 

 

17:12

Cover with GVS of villages, police

SOT

I cannot speak freely. If we speak up against the government, we will be fined once the journalist leaves the area.

 

 

17:27

Phonecall

Cover with GVS of villages, police

 

 

 

 

SOT

We are not allowed to leave the village. We are not allowed to go out to inform people about what is going on here as there are many checkpoints. Even with recommendation papers, if we can’t show NVC cards at the checkpoint, we have to pay fines of 10,000 kyats ($7) each. Even if we want to go for medical treatment, we are unable to travel.

 

 

17:54

Phonecall

 

SOT

We can’t travel from village to village to find work. If you have money, you can move. If not, you cannot move around.

 

 

18:03

GVS Maungdaw town and villages

VO

In more than three hours of conversations, we learn that life, for most Rohingya, is relentlessly stressful.

 

They must observe curfews, cannot travel freely, and have limited access to healthcare and education. 

 

And since early 2019, they’ve also had to cope with a new crisis.

 

 

Rohingya refugees also told Reuters that they face curfews and travel restrictions: https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/myanmar-rohingya-return/


“More than two dozen people who recently fled to Bangladesh told Reuters they faced intimidation and beatings by security forces, as well as curfews and travel restrictions that made it difficult to work or obtain food.”

Human Rights Watch has reported on travel restrictions placed upon the Rohingya:
https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/10/08/myanmar-rohingya-jailed-traveling

 

18:29

 

Activist video of boy stuck in the middle of village square as villagers try to flee helicopter overhead

 

 

 

VO

Upsound

Man

Where did the bullet hit him?

 

Woman

The bullet is still lodged in his calf.

 

VO

The Rohingya have been caught in the crossfire between the Myanmar military and a Rakhine armed group called the Arakan Army. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news/2020/02/18/Myanmar-Rakhine-conflict-Arakan-army-displacement-internet-shutdown


Tens of thousands of people have been displaced in western Myanmar’s Rakhine State over the last year as clashes between the military and the insurgent Arakan Army trap civilians in the middle.”

 

18:44

 

Activist video of boy stuck in the middle of village square as villagers try to flee helicopters overhead

Upsound

We heard two rounds of firing.

Don’t gather here, go inside, go inside!

 

VO

In this clip, filmed by an activist in April 2019, an injured boy lies on the ground as frantic villagers try to flee.

 

Upsound

Go inside the house!

 

They are looking for the crowd to fire on! They’re finishing us!

 

Leave him there, leave him there! Don’t group together!

 

Upsound helicopter

 

Upsound

Two helicopters have just flown over!  

 

VO

Military helicopters can be heard flying overhead.

 

The boy was eventually taken to hospital.

 

He survived.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*We were shown footage of the boy in hospital

19:27

 

Villagers return home with remains of villagers who died in crossfire

 

 

 

 

VO

But for others, the attack proved deadly.

 

Upsound

Do you know him?

 

Villager 1

He is my son in law.

 

Villager 2

He is their son in law.

 

VO

A bag of body parts is all that remains of two Rohingya men killed during the same airstrike.

 

They’d gone to the forest to cut bamboo.

 

 

19:54

A woman mourns her pregnant daughter – killed by a rocket that crashed through her roof.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upsound

 

VO

Nowhere, it seems, is safe.

 

In this video, shot just days before our trip to Rakhine state, a woman mourns the death of her daughter.

 

Upsound crying

Oh daughter I had expected all your wishes to be fulfilled. To build a house for you. But I couldn’t fulfil your dreams, oh daughter!

 

Upsound

Cameraman

Did it penetrate directly?

 

Villager

Yes.

 

Villager 2

The shrapnel entered through here and went out from there.

 

 

20:22

 

Pan to roof of house of woman killed by rocket

 

Upsound

 

VO

The victim had been hit by shrapnel from a rocket that crashed through her roof.

 

 

20:30

Aye Thein Nu shows us her bunker

VO

The conflict has also affected locals who are not Rohingya.

 

Upsound

Aye Thein Nu

When they fire, we stay in there.

 

VO

In this Rakhine village, 68 year old Aye Thein Nu shows us where she hides whenever fighting breaks out.

 

 

20:49

CU bunker

 

 

Aye stands in front of bunker.

 

 

 

 

VO

She says there are several bunkers like this in the area.

Upsound

What kind of danger are you afraid of?

 

Aye Thein Nu

Firing of heavy artillery.

 

 

21:00

Daw San Thida at village meeting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VO

Other villagers are just as frightened.

 

Upsound

Daw San Thida

We’re scared for our children because they shoot big guns which are very loud. So we run away with our children and don’t want to stay in the village.

 

Cape

Did you see anything in the daytime?

 

Daw San Thida

Yes, I saw this in the daytime.

Yes, sometimes they shoot from planes. We’re afraid to stay here.

 

Cape

Who was shooting?

 

Daw San Thida

The military.

 

 

21:30

Tracking shots on our way to Paddin and Nyaung Chaung

Upsound

 

VO

It’s nearly the end of our tour but there are two more Rohingya villages to visit.

 

Both were partially destroyed in 2017.

 

The Myanmar government says they will resettle villagers who didn’t’ flee.

 

 

21:54

Paddin mosque

VO

In Paddin, remnants of a mosque are a reminder of what happened here.

 

Once home to more than 5000 people, only 300 remain today.

 

Village administrator Mohamed Hasan is unusually candid - he says it will take more than new houses to make things right.

 

 

22:08

Mohamad Hasan

Paddin Village Administrator

SOT

We lost our houses, fishing tools like our nets, our farmland. It is very important for us to be able to go back to live on our own land. Freedom of movement is also important for us.

 

 

22:42

School hall surrounded by armed police

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VO

In Nyaung Chaung, villagers have been told to wait for us in a school hall, watched over by minders and armed police.

 

Inside, the atmosphere is tense and few are willing to speak to us.

 

Mohamad Reyas is 22 years old.

 

Upsound

I was not in the village when it was burning. I was in another village. When the village was burning, the people remaining also ran away. When we came back after a few days, the village was already burnt down.

 

Cape

Do you know who set the fire?

 

Mohamad Reyas

I don’t know.

 

Cape

Has the government started to build houses?

 

Mohamad Reyas

They say they will but they haven’t done it.

 

 

23:27

Destroyed houses

Upsound

 

VO

It’s not part of the government’s itinerary but we manage to find the houses that were burnt down.

 

 

23:37

Man approaches camera near a burnt out house

VO

A villager approaches us.

 

Upsound

Villager

Our village 193 house burnt.

 

James

Who is it do this?

 

Villager

Burmese military.

 

 

23:54

Interview with villager, informer visible in background

VO

Another villager tells us it’s not safe for the Rohingya to return.

 

Upsound

It’s safe only in name. In reality, it’s not safe. In reality, this was all done by them. If I say this, it’s not good for me.

 

 

24:10

Pan from sleeve of villager, to “spy”

VO

It appears, we’ve been spotted.

 

Upsound

He’s an informer. He’s following us. I cannot say anything. 

 

 

24:25

POV shot – walking away.

 VO

Here in Rakhine state, the Rohingya can only speak in whispers, or in private about the violence and discrimination they’ve had to endure.

 

 

24:38

Time to leave! Minders stop us from filming outside abandoned mosque

Upsound

Minder

No, no, no, no! Please!

 

 

VO

And journalists are closely watched over by government minders.

 

Upsound minder

Steve! Let’s go!

 

VO

We end the tour acutely aware that there’s a lot we haven’t seen.

 

 

24:56

Leaving Rakhine – shots from car.

 

 

 

VO

The International Court of Justice isn’t expected to release its verdict anytime soon.

 

But whatever the outcome, it’s clear human rights violations against the Rohingya aren’t confined to the events in 2016 and 17.

 

They’ve been happening for a long time.


And they’re still happening – right now.

 

 

 

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