Assessments and Documentation in Myanmar | Left to die in a burning house

Amirah, 15, suffered a machete wound to her head and severe burns to her hand, feet, and back when she was left to die in a burning house by Myanmar security forces who attacked her village in August 2017.

Amirah and her brother, with whom she lives in Humdum refugee camp in Bangladesh, gave this account of her experience:

In late August 2017, Myanmar soldiers entered Amirah’s village of Charpara, where she lived with her family of 21 people. The soldiers shot rifles and threw grenades at the homes, driving residents towards the river. There, soldiers separated about 500 women and children from the group and herded them back to the village. All those who remained behind were shot.

Amirah was taken with six women, including her mother and two sisters, and about ten children to a house. She witnessed three of the women being raped, beaten, and then killed by a number of soldiers and civilians, who then began killing all the women and children with machetes. Amirah was struck on the head with a machete and lost consciousness. She awoke to a strong smell of burning and realized that her hands, feet, and back were in flames. She was able to crawl out of the house into the jungle, where other villagers helped her to the next village and then on to the Bangladesh border. Amirah and her brother say that, of the 21 people in their family, only they and one other survived the slaughter.

PHR doctors who examined Amirah found healing third degree burns on her left hand and both feet and lower legs, as well as a large healing laceration on her scalp, all highly consistent with her account of events. The burns to the legs and hand are consistent with Amirah being on the floor when the burns were sustained, and the specific position of the burns are consistent with her account of being unconscious when the injuries occurred. The healing scalp laceration is consistent with a machete being brought down with force and cutting the scalp in a blunt manner.


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