AT THE CAMPS

Our team at the refugee camps gather witness testimonies, footages, images, and documents that survivors are willing to share with the world. 


For infomation on our efforts on documents collection, please contact us confidentially.


For a review of our efforts on collection of testimonies, please see the excerpts below from a couple of sample testimonies. The names of the interviewees are not mentioned. 


"I don't know what to say, I have seen so much"

My interviewee today, Samirul Alim, a man in his early 50s, was placid and calm as he entered the room. He seemed like an introverted personality, who would not talk much, or would not have much to express during an interview. But that was not right.


After the usual introductory questions on name, village name, assurance of identity protection, etc. I asked him to begin recounting what he saw. He started, saying "I don't know what to recount I have so many things. I don't even know what to say..." Upon insisting some more, he started to open up "I saw the dead body of my brother after he was beaten to death following his imprisonment. Why was he imprisoned? I don't yet know... His body had torture marks all over it... His head was torn apart... His inmates recounted to me later about his cries while he was tortured..." he said with tears in his eyes. He continued to talk about his village, how he and his family had to leave while the village was burned to the ground, seeing women gang raped, men slaughtered by machetes, and dead bodies lying everywhere. Then, while talking about his arrival to Bangladesh, he broke into tears again "I saw on my way to Bangladesh, a boat being sunk. There were about 30 people in it, they were all fleeing for their lives when they were shot at. I saw the boat sink gradually. Pepole just drowned... I don't know what to recount, I have so much...." he said continuing to weep. "Are we animals? Why do others live like humans - the Buddishts, the Hindus, why are we treated like animals?"


I asked him about the repatriation deal. He said "where will I go my brother? Back to the same place where I had to live like an animal all my life? They take away my own hard-worked farming, my own cattle, they would never let our children get jobs, they would never allow them to go to college or university, our people are jailed without any reason, tortured and killed, and we can say nothing..."


55 year old, male from MaungNu Phara, Buthidaung township

"All of a sudden the military entered our village one morning. They convened in a circle and discussed for a while. Then they made hand gestures and dispersed in different directions. I was at the house of my maulana, who I had known since childhood. He asked me "the military is here, what will you do son?" Not much later after he had asked that question, the military was at our door. My maulana stepped outside as ordered, and so did I with others that were in the household. I saw many other people from neighboring households also gathered in teh street in frond, they were all afraid. Then one soldier asked me if there were any others remaining inside. I said I will go and check. I was lucky, as that is what saved my life. I didn't return after going in, I hid inside the room and stayed put. There was a window from where I peeked outside for sometime.


"Everyone outside who were standing were now in squatting position with their hands behind their necks. A soldier stepped up to my maulana and demanded him to stand up. My maulana was 108 years old, he couldn't react immediately. They kicked him and he fell to the side of the road, then he was hacked with a machete... (pause). They ordered another person to standup, he was slow to respond as well, he was a blind man. They hacked him as well and threw him to the side of the road... I couldn't bear seeing anymore, I crawled inside the room and hid in there until sunset. I could hear cries and yellings. There were also gunshots ringing from further away. This continued until sunset, at which time things calmed down a little. I walked out of the house and saw blood all over the place. They had taken away the dead bodies, except for one. Later that night, I and another villager buried that body together. We left the village and saw many other dead bodies in the streets. There were wheelbarrows with dead bodies piled on them..."

40 year old, Fuwakhali, near Maungdaw township

"Since the events of 9 Oct they would come to our village all the time and order men and women to come out of their houses into the streets. They would pick the women they liked, and would take them into one of the empty houses and rape them. The others, they would just beat and aggress, right on the streets...


"My wife was 9 months pregnant. One of the soldiers yelled at her 'move!' She was moving, but she wasn't fast enough. The soldier kicked her with his boots. She fell, and he kicked her again, this time on her abdomen...


"Three days later my wife gave birth to a dead child... That very night, the soldiers came again to our village and began raiding the houses. They were coming for us and so I and everyone in the house fled for their lives. My wife couldn't leave; she laid sick on the bed...


"I and my children returned to the house a little later. They saw my wife lying in the same bed, dead, with blood all over. They had stabbed her everywhere...


"I and my children carried my wife's dead body to the woods behind our house to bury it. It was late at night and we had just begun digging when we heard the military coming again. We had to run again... I couldn't even bury my wife..."