PHR has been shining a spotlight on human rights violations in Myanmar for more than 15 years.
On February 1, 2021, the Myanmar armed forces (known as the Tatmadaw) seized control of the country, following a general election that the National League for Democracy party won by a landslide. Since that time, hundreds of people, including children, have been killed and many injured during nationwide Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) protests and violent crackdowns on those opposing the coup. Doctors and nurses have been served with warrants and arrests for providing medical care to protesters, health workers have been injured while providing care to protesters, ambulances have been destroyed, and health facilities have been raided.
Since the 2021 coup, PHR has partnered with Insecurity Insight and the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health and Human Rights as part of the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition (SHCC) to document incidents of violence against health workers, facilities, and transport in Myanmar.
PHR’s Documentation of Violence Against the Rohingya
A violent August 2017 crackdown by the Myanmar military on minority Rohingya people living in northern Rakhine state, which killed thousands and drove more than 720,000 refugees into neighboring Bangladesh. PHR teams have travelled to Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar to forensically evaluate survivors’ wounds and to listen to firsthand witness accounts of what happened. Our work, which used medical forensic analysis to corroborate survivors’ stories, is detailed in our reports, “Please Tell the World What They Have Done to Us” and “Widespread and Systematic,” as well as 2019’s “Shot While Fleeing,” which highlights long-term disabilities resulting from the attacks.
In 2020, PHR published Sexual Violence, Trauma, and Neglect, which features interviews with health workers who have treated Rohingya survivors in Bangladesh and who corroborate allegations of sexual violence by Myanmar military.
The aftermath of the 2017 violence was not the first time that PHR documented atrocities committed against the Rohingya. In 2010, we released an emergency report, “Stateless and Starving; Persecuted Rohingya Flee Burma and Starve in Bangladesh,” detailing the forced internment of Rohingya refugees by the Bangladesh government. The report demonstrated that, among children seeking refuge in Bangladesh, 18 percent suffered from acute malnutrition.