MYANMAR: Women Demand Justice for Civil-War Sex Abuse Victims

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Burma News International
South Eastern Asia
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

Participants at the Myanmar Women's Forum 2013 held from September 20 to 22 in Yangon.

Myanmar women's organizations at the Myanmar Women's Forum have demanded the government to bear responsibility and deliver justice to women who were sexually abused during civil wars.

The civil wars which are still going on have led to numerous cases of human rights violations.

The Myanmar Women's Forum 2013 organized by the Myanmar Women's Network (WON) and Women's League of Burma (WLB) was held from September 20 to 22 in Yangon.

“It has already been 60 years since the civil war started. The number of women who have been sexually abused is countless. The government should bear responsibility of crimes perpetrated by its army. They should ensure justice for such crimes in accordance with the law”, said Naw Susanna Hla Hla Soe, Central Committee member of the WON.

The women's organizations have demanded an end to civil wars, end of sex abuse, punishment of sex offenders and a review of all cases of abuse that took place within the last 60 years.

In Myanmar, sexual violence in conflict zones is ranked highest in crimes against women followed by domestic violence according to the WLB.

The Shan Women's Action Network (SWAN) and Kachin Women's Association Thailand (KWAT), member associations of the WLB, released a report in 2012 documenting sex abuse on women during civil wars and violation of human rights in Myanmar.

“Being sexually abused is a social taboo and some women commit suicide out of shame. Some are forced into becoming commercial sex workers”, said Daw Tin Tin Nyo, General Secretary of the WLB.

KWAT has made a report titled Pushed to the Brink on sexually abused women and victims of trafficking in conflict zones in Kachin States. SWAN has also prepared a report named License to Rape after interviewing 150 women who are victims of sex abuse in Shan state.

“In most of the rape cases, the victims become the culprits because the real culprit have money and power. It is essential to watch over Judges and their verdicts”, said Daw Shwe Shwe Sein Latt, Central Committee member of the WON.

Daw Tin Tin Nyo told Mizzima that the least the government could do is take responsibility and make an apology to the victims.

The WLB will release a report in November, which will shed light on the lives of women who were abused by the military in conflict zones in Myanmar.