Assessments and Documentation in Myanmar | Will Muriam ever walk on her own again?

Muriam is a five-year-old Rohingya girl who appears to have been crippled in what was described as a vicious assault carried out by Myanmar security forces who attacked her village.

When PHR doctors first saw Muriam, she was laying on a matt on the floor of a clinic outside Balukhali refugee camp in Bangladesh, wearing a maroon dress, with her mother at her side. The girl did not appear to move her lower limbs spontaneously and said that she could move them “only a little.”

Muriam’s mother volunteered this account of her daughter’s injuries:

Just two months prior, soldiers from the Myanmar army approached Muriam’s village and began firing their rifles and throwing and firing grenades at some of the homes. Muriam was in her house with her mother, father, and both grandparents on that day. The house was set on fire and Muriam and her mother and grandparents ran out of their house. Muriam’s father did not make it.

Once outside, a soldier grabbed Muriam, who weighs approximately 40 pounds, and threw her against a wall. That soldier and three others then began to kick and stomp her with their combat boots. Muriam’s mother reported that this physical attack lasted several minutes, during which time she and Muriam’s grandparents were pleading with the soldiers to stop.

Muriam’s mother reported that she picked her daughter up when the soldiers stopped kicking her and ran away from the house with the grandparents. They alternated carrying Muriam on their backs and, eventually, on a makeshift stretcher to Bangladesh. Muriam cried all the time, every time they moved her, for many weeks. When Muriam’s family reached the refugee camps in Bangladesh, they rushed Muriam to the hospital.

Muriam’s mother is responsible for all of her activities of daily living, including bathing and toileting.

Muriam cannot bend her legs, let alone stand or bear weight. PHR doctors who examined her confirmed that she appears to be suffering from neurological damage and from a pelvic fracture that has gone essentially untreated. Yet her quick smile and engagement, combined with a clearly supportive family around her, are very positive indicators for emotional recovery and growth in the wake of her trauma.

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