Friday, 13 December 2019

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Violence against women rampant under junta: WLB

New Delhi (Mizzima) - An umbrella group of Burmese women on Wednesday said it is joining hands with several activists groups to bring Burma’s military rulers to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for their crimes against Burmese people in general and women in particular.

Women’s League of Burma (WLB) in its statement on the ‘International Stop Violence Against Women Day’ said women in Burma are victims of the ruling junta’s systematic rights violations, including sexual harassment.

“Unless there is genuine democratic change in Burma, there can be no justice. Therefore, it is important that Burma has democratic change and we urge the international community to increase pressure to bring a democratic system in the country,” Thin Thin Aung, a Presidium Board member of WLB, said in her speech at the event held in New Delhi, India.

Lum Nan, in-charge of the women’s wing of the Kachin National Organisation (KNO), said there has been widespread violation of women’s rights particularly sexual harassment by soldiers of Burma’s armed forces in remote areas of the country, inhabited by ethnic minorities.

“In our Kachin State, we received reports of widespread sexual violence committed by members of the Burmese Army. Especially, women living in villages along the railway lines are vulnerable. Often women, who are raped, are also killed by their perpetrators,” Lum Nan said.

She said, despite reports to higher authorities, the perpetrators often get away with their crime and go unpunished.

Though Burma is a member of the United Nations and a signatory to the Convention on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the ruling junta continues to systematically abuse the rights of women, said WLB, calling on the international community to increase the pressure on the junta to end such practices.

In the light of increasing rights violations and violence against women in Burma, WLB called on the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to stop its constructive engagement with the junta and to re-assess its policy.

Systematic rights violations including sexual violence and violence against women in Burma are the outcome of the ruling junta’s reluctance to politically resolve the country’s long-standing political imbroglio, WLB said.

Though Burma’s ruling junta said it is implementing change through its roadmap to democracy, its 2008 constitution does not guarantee the rights of women, instead enshrines the military’s role.

“Therefore, we express our strong opposition today on the junta’s planned 2010 election that will give life to its 2008 constitution,” WLB said in its statement.

Observing the ‘International Stop Violence Against Women Day’ New Delhi-based Burmese women activists along with human rights activists in New Delhi on Wednesday urged the United Nations’ Special envoy to investigate violations of women’s rights in Burma, that have been ignored.

In 1999, December 17, the 54th United Nations General Assembly in its 83rd resolution declared November 25 to be observed as the ‘International Stop Violence Against Women Day.’


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