“The systematic use of the most brutal and dehumanizing forms of violence that we witnessed in the Bangladesh camps should awaken us all to the fact that what is happening to the Rohingya has a name: It is genocide,” they said in write-up published in Canadian newspaper ‘The Globe and Mail’ on Thursday.
They also wrote that Myanmar authorities, including Canadian honorary citizen Aung San Suu Kyi, bear the ultimate responsibility to stop these atrocities.
In their write-up, Ebadi, the first Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Peace prize, and Karman, Nobel Peace prize winner for her work for the safety of women in Yemen, recounted the harrowing incidents of sexual violence, murder and torture of the Rohingya and urged Canada to be unafraid in the quest for justice for the Rohingya.
“In late February this year, we travelled to the refugee camps of Kutupalong and Thyankhali in Bangladesh, to witness firsthand the persecution faced by the Rohingya people. Nothing could have prepared us for what we saw and heard,” they said.
“More than 100 women told us how the Myanmar security forces burned villages, tortured, killed and systematically raped women and girls. An alarming majority of the women identified their perpetrators as members of the Myanmar military. Most of them were raped openly, in broad daylight, by men in military apparel, often just outside their home,” they described.
“Their resilience in the face of the worst human crimes was astounding. But, more than anything else, it was their hunger for justice that struck us,” they said.
Impunity for these crimes and particularly for sexual violence is rampant in Myanmar. As the women told them, the perpetrators showed no fear of reprisal by their superiors; it is their superiors who order systematic rape of women and girls and the murder of their families, they wrote.
Rohingya women and their families need a strong and committed champion on the international scene. As a host to the Group of Seven Summit, Canada should be unafraid to step into that role and explore all international avenues to ensure that the ongoing violence stops and crimes committed against the Rohingya do not go unpunished. Ending the genocide against the Rohingya is a global imperative, and urgently requires robust, concrete leadership from Canada, they added.