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UN Secretary-General: Burma: ‘High Level of Impunity’ for Sexual Violence by ‘State Actors’

By Burma Campaign UK  •  April 29, 2015

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stated that there is: ‘a high level of impunity for conflict-related sexual violence perpetrated by State actors’ in a recently released report to the UN Security Council. The UN Secretary-General urged the government of Burma “…to ensure that security personnel accused of such crimes are prosecuted.”  The report also stated that there is a ‘a lack of transparency in military courts.’

The report ‘Conflict-related sexual violence – Report of the Secretary-General’ is published annually. Last year, the UN Secretary-General made a similar call urging the Government of Burma “…to fully investigate and respond to current and historical human rights violations and abuses, including crimes of sexual violence…”.

Burma Campaign UK welcomes the UN Secretary-General’s continued highlighting of the widespread sexual violence in Burma, but is disappointed that he has not taken any practical action to end  impunity, such as supporting the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry into rape and sexual violence in Burma. The Secretary-General is aware that the government of Burma will not investigate its own crimes.

The Burmese Army continues to pursue a policy of rape as a weapon of war against ethnic women and girls where their soldiers enjoy guaranteed impunity. As noted in the UN Secretary-General’s report, “Information verified by the United Nations indicates that sexual violence remains widespread in Kachin State, where armed conflict continues, as well as in northern Shan and Rakhine States and areas subject to ceasefire agreements in Chin State and the south-east of the country.”

Women’s groups from Burma also continue to highlight rape and sexual violence cases. Recent cases include the brutal raping and killing of two ethnic Kachin teachers, Maran Lu Ra and Tangbau Hkawn Nan Tsin by Burmese Army soldiers, in January. Although the government of Burma endorsed the Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in June 2014, it appears to have taken no steps to implement the declaration. Instead, the Burmese government continues the culture of impunity, as well as intimidating and arresting women activists.

That is why Burma Campaign UK is calling for an independent international investigation into widespread sexual violence in Burma.

“We welcome the UN Secretary-General continuing to highlight the issue of sexual violence in Burma and his call for the prosecution of those perpetrators”, said Zoya Phan, Campaigns Manager at Burma Campaign UK. “Given the fact that the Burmese government is ignoring the previous call for action by the UN Secretary-General, and will never take action to investigate its own sexual crimes, Ban Ki-moon is allowing continued impunity by failing to support an international investigation into these human rights violations”.

The UN Secretary-General’s 2015 report on conflict-related sexual violence is available here.

 For more information please contact Zoya Phan, zoya.phan@burmacampaign.org.uk

Twitter: @zoyaphan

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This post is in: Press Release

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