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Why is the lady of dignity still ignoring the dignity of her Rohingya women?

Muslim women at a refugee camp in Rakhine State, western Myanmar. (Photo: AP/Khin Maung Win)

Mayyu Ali
RB Opinion
July 6, 2016
"1 doctor per 140,000 Rohingyas in Northern Rakhine State. 1 doctor per 681 non-Rohingyas in Rakhine State." Thomas Quintana, former Special Rapporteur based-Myanmar

The population of Rohingyas in Rakhine State, according to 2014 Census is estimated approximately 1,090,000 (536,700 are male and 553,300 are female).

From generation to generation, they are Rohingyas who have a great hope for the democracy administration of Aung San Suu Kyi, the daughter of the late General Aung San. To accomplish the hope, many Rohingya souls have given, many had to fled the country, many belongings of Rohingyas have supplied and many efforts and endeavors of Rohingyas have sacrificed for her. And many have passed away by hoping without fulfillment.

Outstandingly, when the National League for Democracy, led by Aung San Suu Kyi won the general election in November, 2015, she is now in power becoming the key player of this new government wearing many rolling hats. And now, it is 3 months over of its new civillian administration in Myanmar. Even though, human and civil rights violations have been slipping backward in the country particularly on Rohingya people in Northern Rakhine state.
Do you know that there were (6) rape incidents and (1) assassination against Rohingya women in the first half year of 2016 in northen Rakhine state? (For privacy reason, database is not attached hereby but can ask to for more details)

Let's keep an eye to the today-life of 553,300 displaced and undisplaced Rohingya women!
They think themselves that they are useless. They decide themselves to end up their life. Their fate brings an unusual life for them having been the rape of mothers in front of their children, the sexual assault of wives in front of their husbands, the molest of sisters in front of their brothers and the torture of daughters in front of their fathers. This, then leads them enthralling to end up their life, indeed.

90 percent of their basic health assistance is denied in Northern Rakhine State. They are the only women in Myanmar who always have to take off their veils and being checked up even their bodies during passing the check points. For any tiny thing of else, a kick with long shoe is a normal harshness of the Border Guard Police (BGP) except the extortion of accusing for no village administration authorization and absence of identification card. In fact, there is no Rohingya who has no fear and distress for passing the check points.

(1) Their pregnant life
Most of them cannot afford to eat balanced foods during their pregnancy period. Many of them have husbands who cannot afford even medical consultation costs to have a safer pregnancy for them. Where is no income sources of members in a family, there is the frequency of family conflict, domestic violence and influence at home. The nausea and lose of appetite are the impacts of such situations. And the average weight of them is found as (25-40) kg. 

Too few of them are enough capable of hospital delivery. It is difficult for most of them to go to clinics and health centres for pregnancy consultation, due to financial contingency and transportation unavailability. Those who are able have to face the misbehavior and blood-boiled frailing words of non-Rohingya medical staffs in hospitals. Then, this leads them to be reluctant to go there again even for vaccination. Home delivery with a traditional birth attendant is a common resource for them. And some of them face early pregnancy and miscarriage, too. However the risky of complication is, even pregnant women are not allowed yet to cross the check points at night to go to downtown hospitals for delivery. Nevertheless, it is seven heavens of delight for them that INGOs such as Malteser International and Medicine Sans Frontier (MSF) provide assistance to transfer to downtown hospitals for few of delivery complications in some coverage village tracts of Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships. So, Rohingya women have to carry on a heavy emotional pains of burden on their mind meanwhile they carry on a fatigued pregnancy in their womb. 

"The night is going so long and my pain is screaming me loud. No nurse is around of us. When my husband bribed 30000 MMK, the nurses of night in-charge come out and see me", said Fatema, age 27 from downtown of Maungdaw.

"Paying the bribe is not worse than dying in pain when they can kill us with their pills", added Fatema. 

It was on 8 of January, 2016 when she was hospitalized for her first delivery in Maungdaw hospital. Daw Kyi Kyi Htun is one of night duty running nurses who takes bribes for thier nursing priority to hospitalized patients in Maungdaw hospital. In this regard, there are other kinds of making-money practices of medical staffs in downtown hospitals in northern Rakhine state. 

"Pregnant women are dying. Children are dying", urged Dr. Zarni to the world during the last Oxford Conference of Rohingya Genocide.

(2) Their lactating life
Many new born babies are found as low weight birth then thus, are prone to malnutrition. No good access of medical assistance for their lactation due to several kinds of restriction. Some have no chance to rest and reduce their domestic workload after their poor delivery. 

All of them are not well-aware of the advantages of feeding colostrum, yet. Many are able neither to practice exclusive breastfeeding nor to breast-milk to their babies in a way of good attachment and position as the lack of attention on them during it. Infants before 6-month of age have to introduce artificial feeding for less breast-milk production of weak mothers. Some lactating mothers are found as moderately malnourished And it causes 60 percent of their children suffering acute malnutrition. 

Very few have the knowledge of child well-being and are able to fulfill the needs of their children. They are those mothers who always worry about the secure and safety of their children. 

"Suddenly, my baby was snatched from my bosom. It is a wolf when I look at. And I scream...", mourned Monuwara (nick name), a Rohingya lactating woman, age 33 to her neighbors. 

It was on 14 of May, 2016, at midnight 3 am. It took place in a mountain hamlet (Goona Para) of (Ward-2) Pauk Taw Pyin, northern of Buthidaung Township. She is one of the most vulnerable women in the area. The door and shelter of her house are not enough secure to protect them. And her husband is too weak and blind to save his family. And the hungry wolf could take away the baby from her bosom at midnight. When she was screaming, all the neighbors came to see and followed the wolf but they could not save the baby. When the day broke, they found the dead body in the mountain but not eaten because the wolf gave up when the villagers followed it. 

(3) The life of Rohingya young women

Rohingya young women are those women who grow up in a garden without a good gardener. The access of fertilization for them is too scarce to promote their talent and potential. 

Most of their parents have less motivation of educating them in schools not because they cannot afford their education costs but because they see no benefits of educating them. Even now, their last only one source for higher education of Sittway University is restricted to go there to study since 2012. Moreover, there is no employment for them in public services since decades.

Extortion, arbitrary arrest, incarceration and ongoing restrictions in several ways against their innocent parents and brothers make them to have a life of rage and helplessness. The daughters of those parents who are not able to pay the dawry for their marriage flee the country in sale of human traffickers to find the grooms in Malaysia, Indonesia, India and Bangladesh. During their adventure, some are drowned in simultaneous sea. Some are raped by human traffickers. And some are reselled to others. On the other hand, some of them have a single life for long without affording a marriage in northern Rakhine State. 

To use a common phrase, they too are the princess of hope and dream. But for being minority Rohingyas in Myanmar, things in their daily life seem quite different. Their expectation always evaporate, their hope always shatter and their dream always change.
"My dream has turned to nightmare", said Khin Me Me Htun, 22 years old, one of the displaced Rohingya young women out of many thousands.

She has finished her (B.A, English) attending Sittway University in 2010 academic year. She has a dream to continue her furthermore study of diplomacy moving to Yangon. When the riots broke out in her town, Sittway, she and her family became hopeless. And her dream has changed to the life of so-called concentration camp. She then became a displaced woman. Now, she has a life of hardship without enough food and secure shelter. 

Of course, this is the today-life of Rohingya women who has escaped from the death of the flame of arson, the blade of swords, the shoot of bullets and the sink of sea in back four years. In northern Rakhine state, the same wind for them is still blowing, the same wave for them is still striking and the same day for them is still going on.

Do not ask me why it is like that. Ask me why it should not be like that. It is just a page of the first half year of this 2016's on-going persecution to genocide against Rohingyas that a lazy student can find to read. If someone willing to see them with a keen eye, an impartial ear and a kind heart going in Rakhine State, he or she would surely find out the suffering what human beings can be.

However, it remains only 10 days out of 100 Days of Scheme of the first new civillian democratic government led by Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar, she is still ignoring the dignity of the world's most persecuted 553,300 Rohingya women in Northen Rakhine State.
Perhaps, I am too a son of those mothers, a brother of those sisters, a husband of those wives and a father of those daughters. 

Mayyu Ali is a member of Myanmar Youth Activist for Rohingyas Freedom (MYARF). He has written many Burmese and English genres about the sufferings of his Rohingya people.

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