10/03/2017 Newsnight


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


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