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International Women’s Day Marked Around the World

By Burma Partnership  •  March 8, 2010

Today marks the International Day of Women. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners-Burma released a brief today on the situation of 177 female political prisoners in Burma’s prisons. In their press release, AAPP stated that these women are an important force within the pro-democracy movement and should be released immediately with all other political prisoners in the lead up to the junta’s elections. In Taiwan yesterday, the Taiwan Free Burma Network (TFBN) and Taiwan Amnesty International organized the “5×65 Campaign” in Taipei raise awareness about five women political prisoners from Burma who were sentenced to 65 years in prison: Nilar Thein, Thin Thin Aye (a.k.a. Mie Mie), Sandar Min, Mar Mar Oo, and Thet Thet Aung. Today in Manila, women members of the Free Burma Coalition-Philippines joined 3,000 others in a march for women in celebration of the International Women’s Day, carrying posters of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other prominent women political prisoners, such as those highlighted by TFBN.

On 2 March, the International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women of Burma was held in New York City to highlight the egregious human rights crimes committed by the military junta, including rape as a weapon of war. The event featured testimony from 12 women from Burma who have suffered rape, torture, and other crimes at the hands of the military junta. Some of their stories are available on the Tribunal’s blog. Several diplomats attended the event, including US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, Melanne Verveer, and more than 1,400 people watched the live webcast.

After hearing the women’s testimonies, Nobel Peace Laureates Shirin Ebadi and Jody Williams, and human rights experts Dr. Heisoo Shin (Korea) and Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn (Thailand), called on the international community to urge the UN Security Council to refer the junta to the International Criminal Court, as a last resort to end crimes against humanity in Burma. Read the full list of recommendations. On 5 March, Ebadi and Williams, along with Thin Thin Aung of the Women’s League of Burma met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to deliver the findings and recommendations of the Tribunal, and asked for his support in pushing the UN Security Council to implement its own resolutions on violence against women.

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