“They slaughtered my father just before raping my mother, then they burnt the house with a rocket, with my mother inside. All this happened before my eyes.”

This is the harrowing testimony of an 11-year-old girl from Myanmar from a graphic report launched today by the United Nations human rights commissioner’s office. She is one of around 90,000 Rohingya displaced by the violent retaliation against villagers after nine border guards were killed last October, the latest escalation in a long-running conflict that re-erupted in 2012. Others report of infant siblings or aging grandparents shot as they tried to run, or tied to trees and burned alive.

Hannah Arendt famously wrote of the banality of evil. She didn’t mean that it was unimportant, but that it could be so easy, so ordinary, so matter-of-fact. Like the simplicity of the words of an 11-year-old girl describing unimaginable horror.

Around 1 million Rohingya live in northern Rakhine state, Myanmar’s poorest. Denied citizenship or identity documentation, they struggle to access services and have almost no freedom of movement. International charities are banned from visiting. But Cord can and does work with women and men across Myanmar who are passionate about positive change. Through helping community leaders, civil society activists and local authorities gently but firmly to confront the status quo of exclusion and violence, we see subtle but lasting change in attitudes and behaviours. It might seem a small step, but it’s a step in the right direction. It starts to change the context so that evil is no longer banal, violence no longer normal.

Mark Simmons

Chief Executive

The full report from the OHCHR can be found here http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/MM/FlashReport3Feb2017.pdf