NGO publishes book recounting Myanmar junta atrocities on Rohingya

ZAIDI ISHAM ISMAIL


NILAI: Malaysians will soon be able to read a blow-by-blow account of the atrocities committed by the Myanmar junta on the Rohingya people in a book set to be republished by non-governmental organisation, Muslim Care Malaysia.

Published by Bangladesh-based Kaladan Press Network, ‘Witness To Horror’ documents the first-hand experiences of 20 Rohingya women who fled across the Myanmar border to neighbouring Bangladesh.

"The book contains the accounts of the 20 women, as well as pictures and locations of the horrors committed by the Myanmar military on Rohingya men, women and children in Arakan (Rakhine state) since the latest conflict erupted on Oct 9, 2016.

The atrocities include murder, rape, torture and countless other crimes against humanity.

"We have already published 2,500 copies of the book in Bangladesh, and 200 have been brought into Malaysia. Together with Muslim Care, we hope to make more copies available in Malaysia," executive editor Mohammed Taher told reporters here at the launch of the book in Malaysia.

Muslim Care deputy president Mohd Johari Ismail said plans are afoot to republish the book in Malaysia, and for it to be sold at bookshops, human rights conferences and forums in the country.

Proceeds raised from the book sales will be channelled to the estimated 3 million Rohingya Muslims in Arakan, Myanmar, and refugee camps in Bangladesh.

Mohd Johari said the book is believed to be the first of its kind in Malaysia, and there are also plans to republish it in Thailand.

Mohammed was one of the speakers at the 2017 International Conference last week on the Rohingya – Plight of the Rohingya: Searching for Solutions – which was closed by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

"For the past 20 years, I have been active in assisting Rohingya refugees at the Kutupalong refegee camp in Teknaf, near the Bangladesh-Myanmar border," said Mohammed, himself a Myanmar native born in Maugdaw, Arakan.

He also manages 45 schools within the refugee camp and its outskirts, providing education to 4,000 Rohingya children.

In the book, the interviews with the 20 women were conducted by Razia Sultana, a Chittagong-based lawyer, with the assistance of Pippa Curwen, a human rights activist active with the Burma Relief Centre based in Chiang Mai, Thailand.