8 year old shot in Maungdaw for demonstrating
Burma Times Correspondent: January 14, 2015
Young people in our times often read on the adventures of child heroes such as Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Fin and marvel at their courage. For the children of Akyab’s IDP camp, these fictional characters are as foreign as their former homes from which they were driven out in 2012. Nor does there life have any similar adventure, neither they nor their parents are allowed outside the boundaries of their camps.
Yet the courage of these young children are to no extent less than our childhood heroes. In the face of the ferocious crackdown launched by the regime’s security forces and their anti-Muslim cohorts, no Rohingya, men, women or children can launch any protest without the fear of getting shot. But the children of the Akyab have taken a brave, and very risky step to demonstrate for the voting rights of their parents as the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Burma came to visit their camps.
One might think the demonstrators might hope to get away with it because they are children. One only needs to be reminded that an 8 year old Rohingya boy was shot yesterday by the BGP as along with other boys his same age, protested the arbitrary arrest of one Rohingya man.
The boy, hit in his leg is now undergoing medical treatment at Maungdaw
By contrast, the anti-Muslim protesters belonging to the Rakhine community who greeted the UN envoy with their message of hatred, were ignored if not encouraged by the security forces. They face no dangers to life or limb unlike their younger Rohingya counterparts.
It is still too early in the day to suppose that the little children of Akyab have gotten away with it. Rights groups and the media need to be vigilant in the long run to protect these young people from reprisals of the security forces in the coming days.