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Although still under house arrest, Aung San Suu Kyi has returned to an active political role by initiating dialogue with both Myanmar's junta and Western nations, analysts say.
In the space of seven days, after a Yangon court rejected the pro-democracy leader's appeal against her recently extended house arrest, her status appeared to shift rapidly from political prisoner to potential key negotiator.
Despite efforts to initiate a ceasefire negotiation on June 17 and 30 by means of meetings between representatives of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Burmese government, fresh clashes between the KIA and Burma armed forces took place on July 2 and 3 in different parts of the Kachin State, Kachin News Group has reported.
The Burmese government's chief peace negotiator, Aung Min, suggested that women's involvement in the ongoing peace process will be on the agenda during upcoming negotiations.
While Aung San Suu Kyi remains the most widely-known woman suppressed for her political views in Burma, the jails in that military-ruled country continue to be filled by lesser-known women dissidents being held on a range of questionable charges.
It has been three years since the report ''License to Rape" exposed to the world how troops of the Burmese military regime have been committing systematic sexual violence against women in Shan state, one of the ethnic regions of Burma where civil war has been continuing for more than four decades.
In a fraught coincidence, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will be chairing a United Nations Security Council session on violence against women in conflict situations today, on the 63d birthday of Burma's Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi. That devotee of nonviolence has been kept under house arrest for 13 of the last 19 years by a military junta that has committed the vilest crimes against women.
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While Aung San Suu Kyi enjoys iconic status in Myanmar (also known as Burma), women remain invisible in this country steeped in Buddhist tradition and emerging from decades of military rule.
When independent researchers fanned out across military-ruled Myanmar's mountainous Chin State to catalogue human-rights abuses, they expected to hear the usual disturbing stories of ethnic minority women being raped by government troops. But the research uncovered an unexpected new trend of abuse: Chin men were also being sexually violated by male soldiers in the country's remote northwestern corner.
An exile women's rights group will for the first time co-host an event in Burma when the Women's Forum (Burma/Myanmar) kicks off in Rangoon on Friday.
The Women's Initiative Network for Peace (Win-Peace) has expressed serious concern at the continued imprisonment of hundreds of political prisoners including women activists in various Burmese jails and urged the reform savvy from President Thein Sein to take necessary initiative to release them at the earliest.
As Cho Cho Kyaw Nyein travels around Burma trying to garner support for the Democratic Party (DP), she is met with admiration and respect. The 62-year-old admits that she owes much of this adulation to her father and former deputy prime minister, the late Kyaw Nyein.
A female political prisoner in Kachin state's Putao prison was beaten up by prison guards when she tried to stop them from beating up two other inmates.
A women's group says the military in Myanmar is still using rape as a weapon of war, with more than 100 women and girls raped by the army since a 2010 election brought about a nominally civilian government that has pursued rapprochement with the West.
The evidence against Burma's junta has been piling up for many years. Thousands upon thousands of girls and women raped as a tactic of war by the Burmese army; children press-ganged to serve as porters; 3,500 villages burned to the ground in recent years; millions of people forced from their homes -- these are some of the crimes against humanity sponsored by the generals who rule their Southeast Asian nation of 50 million people.
A lifetime of frustration in Burmese politics has not wearied Cho Cho Kyaw Nyein. Her years as a political prisoner have not blunted her sense of humour.
"Some people call us the 'three princesses of Burma', but to the government, we are the three witches," she laughs as, free now, she walks through the gardens of her once stately, now crumbling colonial home on a hilltop in the Burmese capital.
The PeaceWomen Team
Women in Myanmar face barriers to living informed and healthy lives. Myanmar is plagued with a lack of education on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), HIV and gender based violence. Cultural taboos, language barriers and vast expanses of rural areas pose a great challenge in spreading vital information, especially to young women.