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The first day of hearings at the International Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal in London saw testimony by expert witnesses from across the world who are intimately familiar with the plight of the #Rohingya, as well as first-hand testimony from Rohingya who have been persecuted for decades. Among the expert witnesses were Tun Khin, Dr. Maung Zarni, Nay San Lwin, Azril Mohd Amin, special investigative lawyers from Malaysia and Abdul Malik Mujahid.
The stories were harrowing and intense, at times audience members at the Tribunal were heard to gasp and be visibly shaken by the testimonies.
Some of the testimonies included:
-A Rohingya Imam stated 8 people in his village were burned alive by the military. He stated that at least 1,000 were killed.
-A 30 year old Rohingya woman testified that the Myanmar Army took 7 women from her village and raped them. She fled to Bangladesh 3 months ago.
-Rohingya, Mumtaz Begum testified to #MyanmarTribunal today that Burma military killed her husband 3 months ago & shot her son.
-The Tribunal also heard from a Rohingya rape victim who relayed the horrific testimony that eight other women besides her were raped and her husband was killed.
Abdul Malik Mujahid, Chair of the Burma Task Force, testifed and presented evidence of the use of rape as weapon of war by the Myanmar army and the mass scale of this atrocity. “Rape was the most common crime against humanity described in the day long testimonies through videos and eyewitnesses at #MyanmarTribunal,” Mujahid wrote.
President of the Burma Campaign UK, Tun Khin, also spoke at the event despite his father having passed away only a few days ago, testifying “although his father passed 7 days ago he is more devastated by stories of refugees.”
Dr. Maung Zarni, noted that the real players behind the scene are not the phantom “democratically-elected government of Suu Kyi” but rather that the Army is still in the “driver seat.” Penny Green, moderated the session and concluded by noting the highpoint of the hearings, the fact that both Rohingya and Kachin have joined together in solidarity to learn from one another’s suffering and persecution and to forge greater bonds of solidarity.
The hearings will wrap up tomorrow, March 7 when the indictment will be read.