The invisible struggle of the refugees [Translated]

Helena Escudero
September 11, 2017

One of the main issues on the international agenda is the refugee crisis . In recent years, the European Union experienced the largest displacement of people since the Second World War after more than one million refugees and migrants arrived in European territory , fleeing the war. The latest data presented by the World Trends Report of forced displacement, show the seriousness of a situation that is far from being resolved. At the end of 2016, 65.6 million people were displaced from their places of origin. Which in turn demonstrates that it is a global problem.

20 people per minute fled their homes

In 2016, on average 20 people per minute, they had to flee their homes.

One of the most recent examples that illustrates this situation is that of the more than 600,000 rohinyas, a Muslim minority, who fled #Myanmar during the last year. The situation of this minority is considered the worst crisis of Refugees since the 90s. The Rohingya people were forced to flee their territory, by the persecution directed by the State of Rakáin. So many sought refuge in the neighboring country, Bangladesh, where the construction of the largest refugee camp in the world is planned . It will have the capacity to house 800,000 refugees , which will revive the debate on the conditions of these settlements.

The great wave of refugees forced many countries to revise their own policies. The security of borders became a central issue.

However, little was said about the abuses perpetrated against the refugees and the adverse situations they had to go through.

One of the least visible aspects of the condition of the Rohinyas and refugees in general is violence against women. According to the UN, Myanmar’s security and government forces carried out group rapes and sexual abuse. There were also murders of babies and disappearances. While this is one of the cruelest conditions, it is not always the best known. Sexual attacks by army troops, in this case from Burma, is a fact that has been repeated throughout history.

Refugee women the most vulnerable

The refugee women , as well as those living in territories at war, are vulnerable to sexual abuse and trafficking. This is what specialists say as the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Yury Fedotov.

A little known example in the region, is the sexual abuse of Vietnamese women, perpetrated by the South Korean army during the Vietnam War. This fact not only has a point of connection with the violations towards Rohina women, but also joins in another point. As a result of these violations, there are currently between 5,000 and 30,000 children of mixed descent, who, like the Rohingya people, live marginalized. Known as “Lai Dai Han”, a derogatory term used to say that their blood is mixed, they are not recognized. As with the Rohingyas, no South Korean government took care of them. Although they were the product of war crimesof the South Korean troops, they do not have compensation and they never received a formal official apology. Currently, they live in shame and absolute misery, since many of them can not read or write, and do not have access to basic health and education services.

In 2013, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense of South Korea issued a statement stating that ” there was no sexual exploitation of Vietnamese women .” For more than 4 decades, both society and the government of Korea ignored what happened. Despite their attempts to hide the facts, the existence of the children products of these violations are irrefutable proof of what happened. As well as the more than 800 abused women , who still remain alive and fight because their history is recognized. The Burmese Government decided to take a similar position. Government representatives still deny that this has happened, despite evidence to the contrary.

The situation of the Rohingya refugees generated a great impact worldwide. This minority, which until now was invisible to many, can not continue living in the shadow of a society. Not even the largest refugee camp in the world is going to reverse the atrocities that the Rohinyas had to experience. The story must be different, mistakes should not be repeated. The impunity enjoyed by those responsible for crimes against humanity must be ended. Because if not, what hope does the refugees have? # Gender violence