With Emily Maitlis. An investigation into Burmese human rights violations. Plus the woman who sought out and forgave her rapist and is Pope Francis facing a Vatican mutiny?
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Tonight - crimes against humanity in Burma.
Our own investigation reveals shocking human rights abuse
Committed by the Burmese army against the Rohingya?
By the Burmese, by the Myanmar military
border guard or the police and the security forces.
How could this go unstopped in a country which now
has Aung San Suu Chi - winner of a Nobel Peace Prize -
Can I ask you a question please? The United Nations has accused this
country of committing crimes against humanity. Do you have any response
Pope Francis says he's open to married men joining
the Catholic priesthood, but is the man exploring for such
radical answers to the Church's dilemmas facing a mutiny from deep
And - when she was 16 years old, this woman was raped
We'll discuss their unique and painful journey from violence
Tonight we begin with extraordinary revelations about human
Last year, after decades spent under house arrest,
the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, won
an historic election victory to international acclaim.
She still shares power with the Burmese military -
which ruled the country for decades - in what is a very uneasy alliance.
Tonight, however, Newsnight and Our World's joint investigation
can reveal the extent of the appalling treatment
of the minority Rohinga Muslim community and what seems to be
the lack of effort to prevent what the United Nations is calling
Jonah Fisher has this report - which contains
For the last five months, we've been receiving graphic
video from a part of Myanmar that is closed to the outside world.
The Burmese government wants to keep what's happening secret.
Myanmar's democracy icon turned leader?
The United Nations has accused the country of committing crimes against
humanity, do you have any response to that?
November 2016, thousands of Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim
Heading towards the border with Bangladesh.
They are fleeing a conflict that fled again when this group
of Rohingya militants attacked police checkpoints,
killing nine officers, and seizing guns and ammunition.
The Burmese response was to close the area,
and the army began what it called clearance operations.
Civilians as well as militants have been targeted.
Unable to reach the conflict area in Myanmar, we have come
next door to Bangladesh, to try and work out
There are now more than 70,000 Rohingya sheltering in makeshift
They have been called the world's most unwanted people.
Back in Myanmar, they are the lowest of the low, denied citizenship
and widely seen as illegal immigrants, who belong
He says he left his village in November, when it was attacked
by Burmese soldiers, but his elderly father
of helicopters overhead, burning homes and large
All our smartphone footage has been given to us by a group that has been
meticulously documenting events and verifying video.
The Government accepts that at least 25 people died here,
but have claimed the Rohingya have been torching their own
A year ago, Burmese history had seemed set on a very different path.
Released from house arrest national heroine Aung San Suu Kyi had secured
Overnight, decades of brutal military rule came to
But her freedom and power have their hims. The Burmese generals have
refused to hand over control of key ministries and the security forces.
Since October, the United Nations and human rights groups have
reported hundreds of cases of murder, rain and abduction
Under international pressure to do something, Aung San Suu Kyi set up
an investigation team, there are no Rohingya on it
and it's led by this man, the Vice President
Its methodology and treatment of victims have been criticised
Take this encounter between a Rohingya woman and one
a group of women being forced into the bushes but soldiers.
The office has dismissed much of the testimony from the Rohingya
as fake and this was broadcast on state TV as proof
We tracked down the woman to a refugee camp in Bangladesh.
She told us that she had spoken to the investigators
after being promised she would face no reprisals.
She told us she was still recovering from what the soldiers did
Blocked, just like us from the conflict area in Myanmar,
human rights experts have also been speaking to the refugees.
At the airport, a United Nations envoy told me she was shocked
Definite crimes against humanity. Committed by the Burmese army? By
the border guards or the police or the security forces. Crimes against
humanity is obviously very serious, how much responsibility should
Myanmar's leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, bear for this? At the end of the
day, it is the Government, the civilian Government that has to
answer and respond to these massive cases of horrific torture, and very
inhuman crimes, they have committed against their own people.
The area where these crimes took place is remote,
But we can fly to the biggest city in Rakhine state, Sittwe.
With Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims living side by side.
When violence erupted in 2012, Rohingya were forced
Now, the once busy central mosque lies abandoned.
On the streets and in the tea shops it is hard to find anyone with much
sympathy for their departed Rohingya neighbours.
Most Burmese see them as illegal immigrants.
Could you see a day when the Rohingya will come back here and
they will live side by side? What is the solution to the problems here?
Checkpoints mark the entrance to a Muslim ghetto, this
It is an island in Sittwe surrounded on all sides by Buddhist homes,
the fence and the police keep the two communities apart.
At the entrance women by a Rohingya community leader.
Are the secret police always inside the camp? Really? Many what would
happen if you went out that gate? Beaten by who?
Every other day there's a list given to the police, and then those people
are on the list, are allowed to leave and there is an escort
organised, by the police, to protect the Rohingya when they go out they
don't get attacked. With go to midday prayers.
There have been Muslims living in Rakhine state for centuries.
This mosque dates back almost 140 years.
When Sittwe burned five years ago they were among those who stood
their ground and refused to leave. Were you expecting Aung San Suu Kyi
to be more sympathetic to the plight of the Rohingya?
Its union day and in the town the crowds are gathering for a rare
chance to see Aung San Suu Kyi. This event is something of a sham,
it is celebrating Myanmar's ethnic diversity but the country has in
fact seen decades of war between the army and rebel groups from ethnic
minorities. As the event gets under way, Aung
San Suu Kyi sits silently with the general, she knows she needs their
support if she is to deliver her biggest policy goal.
A nationwide peace agreement with all the ethnic minorities, apart
from the Rohingya. Since she came to power, all our
requests to speak with Aung San Suu Kyi have been rejected.
BBC, can I just ask you a question? The UN has accused the country of
committing crimes against humanity. Do you have any response to that?
She doesn't like people putting difficult questions to her. With
Aung San Suu Kyi unwilling to talk to us, we arrange to meet one of her
oldest political allies. He is the spokesman for the National
League nor democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi's party. I asked why she isn't
speaking out. Out. Not because she doesn't care.
So you think the criticism which has been levelled against Aung San Suu
Kyi, particularly over the treatment of the Rohingya in Rakhine state,
you think that is unfair. It is a serious problem, the UN has
said maybe crimes against humanity are taking place.
The most Burmese life in the last few years has certainly changed for
the better. But the Rohingya are still waiting
and their hopes are fading. So far, the price of power for Aung
San Suu Kyi has been silence, on the principles, and values that she once
principles, and values that she once held so dear.
And you can watch the extended version of that Newsnight-Our World
documentary, "Freedom and Fear in Myanmar", this Saturday
and Sunday on the News Channel and on the iPlayer.
Pope Francis told the German newspaper Die Zeit today
that he is open to married men becoming priests, to combat
the dwindling numbers entering the priesthood
It's the latest exhortation from a leader who's shown himself
unafraid of revolutionary change and the controversy it brings.
Many Christians welcome his openness, and his willingness
to explore new solutions to old problems.
But within the Vatican establishment there is something akin
Next week will mark the fourth anniversary
His Papacy injected fresh impetus to a modernisation agenda which has
electrified liberal Catholics but alarmed conservatives.
Recently, the rumblings of discontent from the traditionalist
Francis wants to give communion to some divorcees
His opponents say this undermines the Church's teaching on the family.
In November, a letter to the Pope from four conservative
It expressed their doubts and concerns and challenged
the Pope's authority by asking him to clarify his teachings.
Last month, anonymous posters criticising Francis appeared
across Rome and a spoof front page of the Vatican newspaper mocking
the Pontiff was sent to the city's cardinals.
Opposition from the church's conservative wing might be more
of the same for the Pope but Vatican watchers are speculating that
a group of moderate cardinals once loyal to Francis are so concerned
by the growing schism, there may be soft murmurings
The Vatican's powerful Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin,
He is a veteran diplomat, seen as a safe pair of hands who might
A big problem for prospective mutineers, there is no obvious way
in canon law to force a Pope out of office.
And with Francis' sky-high popularity amongst lay Catholics,
it's unclear whether so-called moral suasion alone could
realistically lead to another ex-Pope in the Vatican.
Joseph Shaw chairs the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales,
and has publicly thrown his weight behind the concerned cardinals.
Thank you for joining us. There are Catholics and non-Catholics who
believe this Pope is one of the best adverts for religion the world has
seen for decades. What are your concerns? My concerns and the
concerns of many people is the things he has been saying, they have
been interpreted in different ways in different parts of the world and
different ways by bishops handing down guidelines for priests. This
means that ordinary lay people and priests do not really know what they
are supposed to be doing and the job of the Pope is to confirm his
brethren in the faith so he is not doing what we would expect him to
do, which is to explain to us what the teaching of the church 's. Is it
just that he lacks clarity or is this the controversy of some of the
things he is suggesting, for example his move today to welcome married
men into the priesthood? That sort of thing is much more of the sort of
thing that we would expect to be able to handle, those proposals,
they might be good or bad and arguments to be made but this is a
Prudential situation, a matter of judgment whether that is a good idea
and I personally do not think that is a great idea but there is not any
theological objection to that... Let me ask you, if the Pope teaches it,
does that become the teaching of the church? Do you take that as they
handed down judgment from the man you have elected? It is not as
simple as that, they Pope can teach things as a private person and you
do not have to agree. Pope John Paul II said things about the death
penalty, he made it clear that was not the teaching of the church, the
teaching of the church in catechism says one thing and what he said in
other documents is somewhat different and those are not imposed
upon us as Catholics as a matter of belief. Let me try to understand,
you have talked about confusion and concern, how much genuine anger is
there and is that enough to ferment these rumblings of the need for
change? We're talking about different groups of people, on the
one hand there are priests at the coal face, unsure of what the church
is asking them to do and they are besieged from people from both sides
putting pressure on them to do things they are not comfortable with
and that is a difficult position for them to be in. On the other hand,
you have cardinals in the Vatican and maybe they have heard about this
problem but really they are in a very different position, if they are
concerned about the Pope, they are concerned about this schism, which
means parts of the church stopping to recognise other parts of the
church. That is something which is not inconceivable, unfortunately,
under German church and other areas of the world, they seem to be going
in a very steadfast direction whereas the Polish are not going in
that direction. If they stop talking to each other and stop recognising
each other as part of the church, that would be a formal schism. Thank
you very much for joining us. A warning that survivors of sexual
violence might find the next report disturbing.
When she was 16, Thordis Elva was raped by a man she knew -
the man she had at that point considered to be her
The ordeal was two hours long, and brutal.
It left her physically damaged in the short term
Her story is - worryingly - not that unusual.
In nine out of 10 cases of sexual assault, the perpetrator
In a majority of cases, it is a partner or ex-partner.
What is unusual, though, is what happened next.
She got back in touch with her rapist eight years later,
and began an exchange of emails with him to understand what had
motivated the violence and what effect it had had
Eventually, they decided to come face-to-face.
She travelled from Iceland, her home, he from Australia,
and they met in Cape Town, where they spent a week together.
They wrote a book to chart what they learned, called
There are both with me, thank you for coming here. Why did you get
back in touch after something so excruciatingly painful. It was
something I had to do. The first thing I did was try to shut down my
pain, I did not recognise what had happened to me for what it was, I
had this misconception as a 16-year-old that rape was something
that happened when a knife wielding lunatic would jump out of the bush
and attack you because I was under these impressions from the media,
which over report on those crimes when in actuality, as you say, it is
so often somebody you know. I tried to shut down this pain and I became
very effective overachiever, telling my schedule because standing still
offered too much reflection on the past, which was too painful. Despite
me projecting this successful image to the outside I was very much
hurting in private and I was numbing my pain with alcohol, self harm,
eating disorders and they hit rock bottom at the age of 25 and had long
given up the hope of legal justice because it did not press charges
right away and my perpetrator moved to the other side of the planet so I
needed, nonetheless, for him to take responsibility for his actions. And
you made that move? Yes, I did not have high hopes but I needed to do
that for me. Tom, you responded to her e-mail straightaway with an
apology. Did you see yourself as a rapist? Do you call yourself that?
There is an internal recognition absolutely that no -- that what I
did was nothing other than rape, it has been a long process of
understanding the gravity of my actions and the damage I have caused
but as much as I have come to understand, there was a sense of
entitlement and undeserving nature where I sanctioned my own needs over
the top of any understanding or for the well-being of Thordis. When you
read Thordis, you are talking about the moment she was barely conscious.
-- raped. What made you do that? I made no intent, there was no
maliciousness in trying to re-inhabit my 18-year-old self and
from what I find, there was an attitude, when a Boeing goes out
partying with his girlfriend that he is entitled to sex. -- when a boy.
And I took that attitude to a very dark place. Being involved in this,
I understand this is a pervasive issue happening behind closed doors
and I would like to be not complicit in the continuation of that. Because
you were the one that reached out to Tom through e-mail and the idea that
you are a victim, an e-mail from the perpetrator might arrive in your
inbox. If it happened the other way around, what would your reaction
have been? I do not know, that is not how things unfolded. To make
things clear, we're not putting this form as a formula and people should
be contacting each other whatsoever, that is not what we suggest, we're
just offering our story in the hope that this will do a number of
things. To shift the focus from the survivor, whose behaviour has long
been subject to scrutiny, which contributes to this victim blaming
culture, and shift that focus on to the perpetrator, were the
responsibility lies. And we are hoping to dismantle the monster
myth, that it is this unknown armed assailant, because the monster myth
hurts the survivors, it makes it less likely that they will be
believed when they come forth with their stories if the perpetrator
does not conform to that misconception. Which very few
actually do. Those are the hopes in what this could potentially achieve,
this conversation we offer. You call this a conversation, the offering of
the story, people watching this will just say, you should be in jail, you
should not be getting publicity or any reward, monetary or otherwise,
from this and you should not be encouraging this sanitisation of the
crime? Yes, and I say, we live in a world where sexual violence is
normalised and dismissed as locker room talk, where it is not only a
pervasive problem, victim blaming is also very visible in all of this and
those are things that I want to challenge because if a perpetrator
steps forth and acknowledges not only the hurt he has caused but
undermines the need for responsibility to be taken so much
more often, it should be taken in every case, but in my mind that is
not normalisation, that is the antidote to normalisation, it hurts
and we need to make this stop. You are prepared to go through life
talking to people and saying, I have raped, I need forgiveness, that is
what you have carved out for yourself? Yes, this is a case that I
recognise that I am being offered some reputable platforms being here
tonight and they do not seek to increase my bank balance, any
proceeds from this book will be going to charity, I will not profit
in any way. I'm not seeking to ask for forgiveness or any kind of light
from the public perception of this story. I have already been involved
in conversations with men and I have seen an investment in wanting to
discuss this and that there is a background position for me to
continue to be involved in those discussions, I cannot expect that
but if that is available I will certainly be invested in those rooms
and discussions. One question that comes... The women's Festival
decided to move your tour, they thought it was not a suitable
platform to have you there. Why would you approach women's festivals
and groups when you want to be talking to men's clubs, going around
Australia and having this conversation? Are you doing that? In
the future, to be honest, I'm not sure. One of the things that came
from this, when it was released, the way it is framed is a women's issue
and I have no right to demand much in this but this is a case of, I am
pleased we still have a chance to speak outside of the festival, I am
grateful for that and the fact we still get to speak to a London
audience. We have explained that you want to remove the myth of the
monster with the knife in rape and you are very honest, when you meet
in Cape Town, there is an attraction that comes back between you. This is
taboo stuff, I felt an attraction to the man who raped me. It was not an
attraction so much as an acknowledgement, what we had was not
just one night. That is where personal relationships, when
violence comes into that dynamic, it becomes confusing and messy and I
identified him as somebody who caused me immeasurable pain but this
was also somebody I had happier moments with but this was a fitting
recognition that they had to make because it was not a simple history.
Do you see yourself as friends? Is this a friendship you offer?
Absolutely not, we are collaborators on a project that, yes, its focus on
our personal history but that extends beyond us because
unfortunately this is a problem that touches the lives of so many people.
Would you still send Tom to jail if the statute of limitations had not
run out? That has run out but would I still send him to jail? What we
have done is we have worked to the bottom of a very hurtful and painful
history. And I think it has resulted in an understanding and I am not
sure if incarceration would add much to that but I am very much in favour
of the criminal legal system and I very much want to make it clear that
I am not preaching impunity in any way but I am one of millions whose
case fell through the cracks because they did not react immediately and
when I did understand what happened, it was not an option that was
fruitful in anyway but I think that what we are doing right now is add
value that could contribute to meaningful change and that is my
wildest hope. Thank you very much. If you've been affected
by any of the issues we've been talking about,
details of organisations offering information
and support with sexual abuse are available at
bbc.co.uk/actionline. Or you can call for free at any
time to hear recorded We'll put those numbers
on our Newsnight Twitter feed That is all we have time for but I
will be back on Monday. Have a good weekend. Good night.
The weekend's weather looks a little bit mixed, but for most of us,
Saturday is probably going to be the driest and the