Abused Bargaining Chips: Women's Report Card on Burma

Saturday, March 1, 2003
South Eastern Asia

This report looks at the situation of women of Burma and factors that effect their lives and security from mid-2001 through January 2003. The status of women remains stagnant, their living conditions continue to deteriorate and violence against women appears endemic. Despite this, women inside and on Burma's borders continue to find ways to survive and resist the brutal military regime known as the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). Military rule has been the main contributing factor to the violations of
women's rights. As the regime works to retain its grip on the country at all costs, the oppression of women has increased in intensity and breadth. An alarming development is how the SPDC is attempting to utilize the suffering of women to solicit international aid and partnerships without committing to concrete, sustainable and accountable actions of their own. As an International Crisis Group (ICG) report said “on paper the SPDC's response appears adequate…but in practice the response has been constrained by high-level policy ambivalence, the limitation of a medical model perspective, shortages of human, technical and financial resources.” There must be no toleration of the SPDC's cynical efforts to use Burma's women as bargaining chips for aid to alleviate the consequences of its own oppressive rule. Instead, coordinated and consistent pressure is needed to ensure that irreversible social, political and economic reforms are implemented – reforms that will benefit all women, children and men of Burma. Furthermore, the international community has a responsibility to actively support the efforts of the women of Burma in their struggle to reclaim their rights.

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Altsean-Burma, Abused Bargaining Chips: Women's Report Card on Burma, 2003