Rohingya

Hundreds of Children Under Five Slaughtered in One Month in Myanmar

The results of a survey by MSF paint a harrowing picture of the extent of Myanmar's brutal anti-Rohingya attacks.

by Tim Hume
17 December 2017, 8:25pm

This article originally appeared on VICE News.

734. That’s how many Rohingya children under the age of five were killed in the first month of violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, according to a report by Médecins Sans Frontières.

The document estimates more than 6,700 Rohingya in total were killed in the first month of violence after Myanmar security forces launched a brutal campaign against the Muslim minority on Aug. 25.

Both figures are conservative estimates, based on six large surveys by the humanitarian organization of displaced Rohingya population in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, where more than 600,000 have fled. MSF says the numbers likely underestimate the true figures.

Intended to gauge the extent of the crisis, the surveys asked each household about family members who had been killed. Extrapolated across the wider Rohingya population, they give a shocking snapshot of the intensity of the violence inflicted on the persecuted minority.

The statistics are harrowing. The vast majority of violent deaths – 69.4 percent – were from shooting. Nearly 9 percent were burned to death in their homes, 5 percent were beaten to death, 2.6 percent died following sexual violence, and 1 percent were killed by landmines.

Children were spared none of the brutality. Nearly 60 percent of violent deaths among under fives were from shooting, with 15 percent burned to death in their homes, and more than 2 percent killed by landmines.

Multiple reports from international organizations, including the United Nations, have established that Myanmar security forces carried out a systematic campaign involving killings, torture, rape, and arson to permanently drive the Rohingya population from Rakhine State — a campaign the UN’s top human rights official has said could amount to genocide.

But a lack of access to affected areas means officials are only able to make hazy estimates on the scale of the slaughter. A senior UN official estimatedtwo weeks into the crackdown that at least 1,000 Rohingya had been killed, but said that that figure was likely an underestimate.

A Human Rights Watch report released last month documented how Myanmar’s security forces “committed widespread rape” of Rohingya women and girls as part of their campaign.