Call for International Aid in Assisting Rohingya Refugees
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (SOGC) is deeply concerned about the plight of tens of thousands of Rohingya women and girls who have suffered sexual violence at the hands of the Myanmar (Burmese) military. Not only were many of these innocent civilians victims of brutal rape and sexual torture, many have also become pregnant. The SOGC supports a woman’s sexual and reproductive health rights, including control over her body.
The use of a woman’s body as an instrument of war must be classified as among the most heinous of war crimes, and those crimes must be prosecuted. Secondly, women who have been impregnated as an act of war need access to women’s health where desired care, including safe termination of pregnancy, is available. Third, women who carry these pregnancies need access to safe, respectful and trauma-informed care, where ever they give birth, and specifically in the camps where they are being housed.
Without adequate water and food and the monsoon season looming, physicians are worried that many of these women will die. The babies who will be born are also at great risk of abandonment as the surviving women cope with Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sexually transmitted infections and depression in the aftermath of their attacks and traumatic births.
As obstetricians and gynaecologists we abhor these crimes against humanity and call on the Canadian government to immediately expedite international humanitarian relief measures to bring some relief to these refugees, as well as to provide the specific trauma-informed gynecological and obstetric care that is required. We also call on international courts to prosecute those responsible for this genocide.
Impregnating women as a weapon of war must be viewed by the world as a crime against humanity that will not be condoned or forgotten by civilized society anywhere.