Depriving Rohingyas of Medical Access: An Act of Genocide?
By Win Myo & M.S. Anwar
A Voice from World’s Most Persecuted People
(Rohingya Vision) — A 21-year-old Rohingya boy faced untimely demise due to the lack of medical treatment in a ghetto-like-area called Aung Mingala Quarter in Sittwe (Akyab) Township yesterday.
The ‘Aung Mingalar’ Quarter — the only remaining Rohingya area in the downtown of the Sittwe after the state-sponsored violence against the Rohingya minority had swiped out all Rohingya villages – has been under heavy restrictions and blockage with all entrances guarded by the Burmese security forces and fenced with barbed wires. With all their movements heavily confined within the area, the impoverished people face genocide-like situation as they are unable to get access to medical treatments, livelihoods and education.
Around 4:00AM on November 1, Jamal Hussein (son of) U San Ni, a 21-year-old Rohingya boy hails from the ghettoed Aung Mingalar quarter, had to face an untimely demise after suffering from Tuberculosis (TB) and Neck-Pain apparently since the violence in June 2012. The Holland based humanitarian organization MSF (Doctors without Borders) has provided him treatments. As his condition was too serious and no effective means of treatment available for him in the region, the organization tried to send him to Rangoon (Yangon) for treatments but in vain.
On the other hand, the doctors, the nurses and all the health-assistants – most of whom are Rakhine extremists — treat the Rohingya patients in the Sittwe General Hospital discriminatorily and keep them in harsh conditions. The Rohingya patients are kept in small chambers like prisoners. And only women are allowed to stay in the hospital as the caretakers of the patients indicating the vulnerabilities and bullying they will likely to face in the hospital run with politically-motivated agenda (against the Rohingya).
Neither the Rohingya patients as well as their caretakers in the hospital are provided sufficient food nor are they are allowed to order food from outside. When they ask for food out of hunger, the hospital authorities inhumanely reply “ask food from your ‘Rohingya’ people and your International Community.” At the end, the patients and their caretakers have to seek for discharges (releases) from the hospital by themselves as they are unable to resist the hunger more than 2 or 3 days.
When the Rohingya patients are admitted to the Sittwe General Hospital, the doctors come to see the patients sometimes once a day or sometimes stay without paying them any visit at all. Worse, many times, many of the patients are kept without any treatments for a whole week. Hence, many of the people patients do not feel confident or secured if they are admitted to the hospital. Often, there are cases that the doctors or the nurses kill (Rohingya) men and baby boys or male children admitted to the hospital as patients.
It is hard to believe for an outsider — who have never experienced it or lived in the Rohingya places the way the Rohingyas live more than a year – but it is bitterly true. Yes, it’s Genocide.
The MSF (Doctors without Borders) and other humanitarian groups were expelled from Arakan state by the government-sponsored violent Rakhine extremist mob in March 2012. The expulsion of the humanitarian groups has directly worsened the situation of the already-vulnerable Rohingyas confined either in Aung Mingalar Quarter; IDP (internally displaced people) Camps in Sittwe or in other townships; or in the other regions of Arakan State.
The healthcare services provided by the humanitarian groups to the displaced Rohingyas have been replaced by the Health Centres from the Ministry of Health of Myanmar. However, health centres do not have enough/proper means for medications nor are run/open regularly. The health centres are run for 2 hours a day and 2 days a making it only four hours of health services in a week for more than 140,000 displaced people in the region.
Whenever there are medical emergencies like pregnancy or delivery cases or alike at night, they have to wait for the doctor’s arrival in the hospital the next day. Worse for the critical patients, even to get admitted to the hospital, they need medical referrals from the mobile clinics written to the hospital. After that, they need to go to the police to register the patient’s name and get the police permission. And the police permission is never obtained without bribery. If a patient doesn’t go through this procedure, he/she can’t simply get admitted to the hospital no matter how serious his/her situation is.
Moreover, for the patients that come to the hospital from the rural areas, they need to come through different check-posts on the way. They need to provide their detailed information to the police at the check-posts which consumes a lot of time. Consequently, many critical patients die on the way to the hospital. Who is responsible for this? Who will stop these cruel acts amounting to Genocide?
Who have confined the Rohingyas in ghetto-like areas, in concentration camps or what you call it, Open Prisons? Whose orders these Security Forces, Police and Military and other Burmese armed forces daily committing atrocities with impunity act upon? Well, you know the answer! It is clear.
Last but not the least, who is responsible for the untimely demise of a 21-year-old young man like Jamal Hussein? Who has stopped from getting medical treatments? Question yourself. Feel it as a human being! Verily, failures to stop the Genocide against the helpless and friendless Rohingyas indicate humanity is on the verge of extinction!
Depriving Rohingyas of Medical Access clearly shows ‘INTENT’ to destroy the Rohingya community in part or as a whole.
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