On 28th October 2016, Nur Begum, was only 18 years old when she fled Myanmar to Bangladesh along with her younger brother Ahmed Ullah who was only 15 years old. They had three other siblings.
Nur was attempting to live a normal life when on 20th October the Tatmadaw (Burmese military) asked for more than 40 young women from Nur’s Village named “Dunse Para” situated in Rathedaung.
On 21st October 2016, a troop of Myanmar military invaded at her hamlet. The tatmadaw along with the Border Guard Police (BGP) raided the village and killed hundreds of men, women, and children. The young women were assaulted, gang-raped and later killed by the militants.
Among the victims was Nur Begum’s elder sister Rajuma who was 22 years old and was in the stage of three-months pregnancy. She was raped in front of her father by several military officers and BGPs, one by one. Out of rage when Alim Ullah, her father, tried to stop the assailants, they beat him merciless and eventually shot him to death.
An officer hit Nur’s mother by the gunstock and left her unconscious.
Two soldiers also captured Nur. One of them grabbed her while the other sexually assaulted her. Afterward, when the second officer tried to rape her, she struggled with them and fortunately managed to escape. She ran, where she hid in a neighboring house.
After the departures of the perpetrators, Nur came back to her home and found her father and Rajuma dead. Her mother was unconscious. She woke her mother after some time. Her mother was rendered permanently handicapped.
After a week, Nur had to take a decision to either give up and face future rape, abuse, starvation and eventually die or be brave and struggle to survive. She, along with her younger brother on 28 October started her agonizing journey on foot toward Bangladesh,
Nur is currently living at Nayapara camp, Cox’s Bazar along with her brother. Whilst sitting on a mat outside her shattering tin shaded and tarpaulin shelter she said, “I want justice for my people. I want justice against what the Myanmar military did to my family and my village. I want justice for myself. I want accountability. ”
Nur is just one of the thousands of Rohingya young girls who were raped and abused.
While international institutions and mechanism, such as ICC, Fact Finding Mission, ICJ are exploring ways and means to bring accountability and justice, the question remains, can anyone help Nur?
Can anyone give hope to Nur? Perhaps a new life to start with? Or perhaps empower her with education, so that she can fight for her own rights?
Or will let her bravery diminish in the refugee camp, lure to become a victim of trafficking, or simply let her die?
Can anyone hear her silent cry in the never ending nights?