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UN Commission of Inquiry (CoI) to Burma: A Must!

By Free Burma Coalition - Philippines  •  March 8, 2011

Free Burma Coalition (FBC) – Philippines Women’s Committee

In Observance of the International Women’s Day

As the first century ends and 2011 begins as the Global Centenary Year of International Women’s Day Celebration, we start to reflect again on what we have achieved, what our hits and misses were, and be guided by the lessons of the past. More importantly, we collectively think of the next steps in our continuing struggle to achieve freedom, justice and equality. Let us continue to dedicate our efforts to all the women who up to this day are at great risk to and suffering from abuse, exploitation and marginalization.

Today, as we observe the International Women’s Day, we, the women of Free Burma Coalition (FBC) – Philippines unite and march to join all the other women around the world in expressing their commitment to end injustice, impunity and all forms of violence against women.

Yearly, as we celebrate the victories of the women struggle and strategize our future actions, let us not forget our sisters in Burma who are still suffering from all forms of abuses perpetrated by a brutal military government that is unelected and unwanted by their own people. The ruling military junta of Burma systematically uses rape as a weapon of war victimizing women and children of different ethnicities all over the country.

These claims of women rights abuses have been documented for decades now and have continually forced hundreds of women to leave the communities without access to basic services like food, livelihood, health and medical services with the ever present risk of getting abused and exploited. Moreover, women and children get killed while in hiding sites across the borders.

For many years, efforts to address the human rights violations in Burma have fallen on deaf ears not until during the women’s month of March in 2010, when the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Burma outlined in his report the pattern of gross and systematic abuses that have been happening for many years. Since then, many advocates within Burma and from all over the world have raised their hopes that these be addressed through a UN established Commission of Inquiry (CoI) investigating the use of rape as a weapon of war and the widespread crimes against humanity, especially women, in Burma.

Myanmar (Burma) is a signatory to the ASEAN Charter and as a signatory, the country has agreed to embody the principles of democracy including the protection and promotion of human rights. The ruling military junta is clearly failing its peoples and the ASEAN in this regard to which it has agreed to support and uphold as a signatory.

Recently passed United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1820 which condemns the use of rape and other forms of sexual violence as a weapon of war is a testament that these kinds of acts are inexcusable and punishable by international law.The military junta is criminally liable and must not get away with the crimes they committed against the peoples of Burma. The injustices against the women of Burma can no longer be ignored. A UN Commission of Inquiry is a MUST!

Since the call for CoI on Burma started in March 2010, international support has been increasing in number. On February 4, 2011, Belgium became the 14th country to make an official announcement supporting the call for the establishment of a UN-led Commission of Inquiry (CoI) to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity in Burma.

With the growing support from within and outside Burma, we, the women of Free Burma Coalition (FBC) – Phils. continue to stand in solidarity with our sisters in Burma in their quest to end injustice and impunity.

In the spirit of women international solidarity, we appeal to the international community, women’s groups, civil society organizations and the media to:

  1. Support the call for the UNSC to continuously investigate the military junta on the systematic use of rape as a weapon of war and crimes against humanity by setting up a UN Commission of Inquiry (CoI)
  2. Support the UNSC Resolution 1325 and 1820 to mandate criminal accountability for perpetrators of gender crimes in conflict situation; hold the military regime of Burma accountable and bring justice for the women of Burma.

And for the Philippines and other governments to:

  1. Be the first country (Philippines) in the ASEAN to declare support for the setting up of a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) to address serious human rights violations, especially against women in Burma.
  2. Pressure the ASEAN and the UN, most especially, to take the necessary steps in establishing the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) to investigate the widespread and systematic crimes against humanity, especially women, in Burma.

A probe is a MUST!

End injustice and impunity in Burma!

In solidarity,

Free Burma Coalition (FBC) – Philippines Women’s Committee

Member women organizations and supporters:

  • Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) – Women
  • Bagong Kamalayan Collective Inc. (BKCI)
  • Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) – Women
  • Coalition against Trafficking in Women – Asia Pacific (CATW-AP)
  • Pagkakaisa ng mga Kababaihan para sa Kalayaan (KAISA-KA)
  • Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) – Women
  • Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK)
  • Movement for the Advancement of Student Power (MASP)
  • Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP)
  • Akbayan Youth
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This post is in: Press Release

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