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Ethnic Women Urge Canadian Pressure to End Military Abuses in Burma

By Inter Pares  •  March 13, 2015

OTTAWA, CANADA, March 11, 2015 – Two ethnic women from Burma testified at the Canadian Parliament yesterday, calling for Canadian pressure on the Government of Burma to end systematic human rights abuses, particularly sexual violence, by the Burmese military.

The two ethnic delegates were invited to testify before the Subcommittee on International Human Rights. Speaking to Members of Parliament, they urged Canada to take the lead in calling for an investigation into human rights abuses in Burma, particularly military sexual violence. They also called for pressure on the Burmese government to pull back troops from ethnic areas and begin political dialogue to end the civil war.

Wahkushee Tenner of the Women’s League of Burma (WLB) testified about the ongoing use of rape as a weapon of war by Burmese government troops, citing reports by WLB which have documented well over 100 cases of sexual violence since the current government came to power.

Jessica Nkhum of the Kachin Women’s Association Thailand, testified about the recent gang rape and killing of two volunteer Kachin teachers in northern Shan State on January 20, 2015. She explained that the Burma Army has tortured local villagers to make them confess to the crime, and threatened legal action against anyone accusing them of involvement.

Immediately responding to the testimony, MP David Sweet tweeted “Witnesses reveal disturbing increase in violent and sexual human rights violations against women by the Burmese Army in rural Burma.”

They thanked Canada for its long term support to ethnic civil society organizations in conflict affected areas, and urged Canada to continue this support.

Inter Pares, an international social justice organization, has invited the two women to Canada to participate in exchanges with people from other conflict-impacted countries, including Sudan and Colombia.

About Inter Pares

Inter Pares is a Canadian social justice organization working in Canada and around the world for 40 years to support people’s struggles for peace, justice, and equality. In Burma, Inter Pares collaborates with more than 70 organizations. Inter Pares’ collaboration with Burma organization started in the early 1990s.

For more information, please contact:

Wahkushee Tenner, Women’s League of Burma: +66 81 783 2830
Jessica Nkhum, Kachin Women’s Association Thailand: +66 81 783 2830
Rebecca Wolsak, Asia program manager, Inter Pares: +1 (613) 563-4801  rwolsak@interpares.ca

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