Women: discrimination/violence against
Discrimination/violence against women: standards, mechanisms and commentary
|Title:|| ||An examination of the usage of systematic sexual violence as a weapon of warfare and tool of repression in non-international armed conflicts
|Date of publication:|| ||06 October 2000|
|Description/subject:|| ||"In 1994, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women stated, “[rape] remains, the least condemned war crime; throughout history, the rape of hundreds of thousands of women and children in all regions of the world has been a bitter reality.” Despite the pervasiveness of sexual violence during periods of armed conflict, rape and other forms of sexual violence have traditionally been mischaracterized as private acts, the unfortunate but inevitable behaviour of individual soldiers. The revelations of the existence of Â‘rape camps’ in Bosnia-Herzegovina, dramatically altered the awareness of systematic sexual violence against women as a facet of warfare. It has become recognised that sexual violence is not purely an unfortunate ancillary effect of armed conflict but rather a tool by which the civilian population is terrorized, dominated, driven from their homes and destroyed. However, although the rapes in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia have attracted a wealth of academic discussion and analysis, numerous other occurrences of widespread and systematic sexual violence have received comparatively little attention. This paper will focus on the systematic use of sexual violence against women in situations of non-international armed conflict, due to both the prevalence of internal conflicts in recent history, and the relative lack of legal provisions of international humanitarian law which apply to conflicts of this nature. The discussion will focus on the use of sexual violence as both a weapon of warfare, i.e. in order to actively achieve a specific political or military objective, and as a form of heinous repression by which the civilian population is dominated, though in practice the distinction between the two concepts may be somewhat fine. It is of the utmost importance to recognise that sexual violence happens systematically. It is only through acknowledging and responding to the occurrence of organised and strategic sexual violence that senior political and military officials can be held accountable. The term systematic is not used to denote the invention of a new crime, but rather to describe certain forms of sexual violence which have been deliberately planned or officially sanctioned by senior military or government figures for the achievement of a specific objective.
Part One of the paper will detail the systematic use of sexual violence, in relation to internal armed conflicts and will outline the various purposes which sexual violence has been intended to achieve. Particular emphasis will be given to the conflicts in Peru, Rwanda and Kosovo, though the conflicts in Kashmir Sierra Leone, Liberia and Chechnya are also particularly pertinent to the discussion. Although the characterisation of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia has been the subject of varying determinations by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and is considered by several academics as having been both an international and a non-international conflict, the details of the mass rape which occurred in Bosnia-Herzegovina have been well documented and will not be discussed in depth. Part One will also examine the factors which fuel systematic rape, with particular regard to the promulgation of gender and ethnicity based stereotypes and propaganda.
Sexual violence in situations of armed conflict amounts to a clear breach of international law. Part Two will consider the importance of the fact that sexual violence has occurred systematically for the characterisation of such acts as violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. In this respect, the adequacy of international humanitarian law in relation not only to the physical victims but also to the witnesses of sexual violence warrants analysis, as sexual violence of this nature is often intended to cause harm to those other than the physical victims. Part Two will also examine the characterisation of rape as a crime against humanity and will analyse the genocidal rape discourse which has evolved following the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia..."|
|Author/creator:|| ||Bob Last|
|Source/publisher:|| ||University of Nottingham School of Law (Dissertation)|
|Format/size:|| ||html (348K)|
|Date of entry/update:|| ||19 July 2004|
Discrimination/violence against women: reports of violations in Arakan (Rakhine) State
|Title:|| ||ISSUES TO BE RAISED CONCERNING THE SITUATION OF STATELESS ROHINGYA WOMEN IN MYANMAR (BURMA)
|Date of publication:|| ||October 2008|
|Description/subject:|| ||SUBMISSION TO THE COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN (CEDAW)
For the Examination of the combined 2nd and 3rd periodic State party Reports (CEDAW/C/MMR/3)
-MYANMAR-....."...Rohingya women and girls suffer from the devastating consequences of brutal government policies implemented against their minority group but also from socio-religious norms imposed on them by their community, the combined impact of which dramatically impinges on their physical and mental well-being, with long-term effects on their development.
a) State-sponsored persecution:
The 1982 Citizenship Law renders the Rohingya stateless, thereby supporting arbitrary and discriminatory measures against them. Their freedom of movement
is severely limited; they are barred from government employment; marriage restrictions are imposed on them; they are disproportionately subject to forced labour, extortion and other coercive measures. Public services such as health and education are appallingly neglected. Illiteracy is estimated at 80%. The compounded impact of these human right violations also results in household impoverishment and food insecurity, increasing the vulnerability of women and children....Rohingya women and girls are also subject to serious gender-based restrictions due to societal attitudes and conservative interpretation of religious norms in their male-dominated community. The birth of a son is always favoured. Girlsâ€™ education is not valued and they are invariably taken out of school at puberty. Women and adolescent girls are usually confined to their homes and discouraged from participating in the economic sphere. They are systematically excluded from decision-making in community matters. Divorced women and widows are looked down upon, exposed to sexual violence and abandoned with little community support..."|
|Author/creator:|| ||Chris Lewa|
|Source/publisher:|| ||The Arakan Project|
|Format/size:|| ||pdf (179K)|
|Date of entry/update:|| ||30 January 2009|
Discrimination/violence against women: reports of violations in Chin State
|Title:|| ||Unsafe State - State-sanctioned sexual violence against Chin women in Burma
|Date of publication:|| ||27 March 2007|
|Description/subject:|| ||EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:
"This report by the Women's League of Chinland is the first to provide detailed evidence of the systematic sexual violence being committed by the Burma Army in the isolated mountainous region of Chin State in Western Burma. It documents 38 cases of sexual violence, the majority committed during the past five years, in locations throughout the state. Due to social stigma and fear of further violence, few survivors disclose cases of sexual abuse, so these cases undoubtedly represent only a small proportion of the actual number of incidents taking place.
Cases in this report confirm patterns of state-sanctioned sexual violence detailed in earlier reports by other women's organizations from Burma, showing that under the military regime women and girls are at constant risk of being raped. The regime, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), has been expanding its army throughout the country since 1988. Particularly in the ethnic areas, it has been building up its troop presence to subjugate resistance movements and secure control of natural resources and border trade. Whereas 20 years ago, there were only two Burma Army battalions operating in Chin State, there are now eight battalions based in the state, with army camps scattered in numerous villages and patrols constantly roaming the hills. These troops are using rape as a "weapon" to terrorize local communities. Women and girls as young as 12 are being raped in their homes and farms, while traveling outside their villages and when conscripted as forced labour by the army.
There is a clear pattern of impunity for military sexual violence. In none of the cases in this report were the perpetrators prosecuted. Military authorities mostly ignored reports of sexual crimes, or actively sought to cover them up, and even threatened survivors. About half of the rapes were gang rapes, and at least a third were committed by officers, who were setting a clear example to the troops under their command that rape is acceptable.
The soldiers committing rape displayed extreme brutality, sometimes torturing and murdering victims, irrespective of the presence of local witnesses. One woman was stripped naked and tied to a cross, in a savage act of mockery against the local people's Christian beliefs.
Survivors of rape have been fleeing across the border to Mizoram State in northeast India, but as refugees from Burma are not officially recognized by the Indian government, they receive no protection or aid. They must struggle for daily survival and live in fear of deportation back to Burma.
Survivors of rape face stigma and have no access to support-systems inside Burma. The state-dominated Myanmar Women's Affairs Federation, which women throughout Chin State have been forced to join, fails to provide assistance to any women, even rape survivors. Some survivors have been fleeing across the border to Mizoram State in northeast India, but as refugees from Burma are not officially recognized by the Indian government, they receive no protection or aid. They must struggle for daily survival and live in fear of deportation back to Burma.
Economic and military support of the SPDC by neighbours such as India is directly fuelling militarization in Burma. Only genuine political change to democracy, restoration of the rule of law, and a withdrawal of Burma Army troops from ethnic areas will bring an end to the systematic sexual violence in Burma..."|
|Source/publisher:|| ||The Women's League of Chinland (WLC)|
|Format/size:|| ||pdf (770K)|
|Alternate URLs:|| ||http://www.chinwomen.org/images/publications/documents/UnsafeState.pdf
|Date of entry/update:|| ||29 November 2010|
Discrimination/violence against women: reports of violations in Kachin State
|Title:|| ||Driven Away: Trafficking of Kachin women on the China-Burma border
|Date of publication:|| ||15 May 2005|
|Description/subject:|| ||"An alarming trend is developing in ethnic Kachin communities of Burma. Growing poverty, caused by failed state policies, is driving increasing numbers of young people to migrate in search of work. As a result, young women and girls are disappearing without trace, being sold as wives in China, and tricked into the Chinese and Burmese sex industries. Local Kachin researchers conducted interviews in Burma from May-August 2004 in order to document this trend.
"Driven Away: Trafficking of Kachin women on the China-Burma border", produced by the Kachin Women's Association Thailand (KWAT), is based on 63 verified and suspected trafficking cases that occurred primarily during 2000-2004. The cases involve 85 women and girls, mostly between the ages of 14 and 20. Testimony comes primarily from women and girls who escaped after being trafficked, as well as relatives, persons who helped escapees, and others.
About two-thirds of the women trafficked were from the townships of Myitkyina and Bhamo in Kachin State. About one third were from villages in northern Shan State. In 36 of the cases, women were specifically offered safe work opportunities and followed recruiters to border towns. Many were seeking part-time work to make enough money for school fees during the annual three-month school holiday. Others simply needed to support their families. Those not offered work were taken while looking for work, tricked, or outright abducted.
Women taken to China were most often passed on to traffickers at the border to be transported farther by car, bus and/or train for journeys of up to one week in length. Traffickers used deceit, threats, and drugs to confuse and control women en route..."|
|Source/publisher:|| ||Kachin Women's Association, Thailand (KWAT)|
|Format/size:|| ||pdf (3.3MB), 2.2MB|
|Alternate URLs:|| ||http://www.womenofburma.org/Report/Driven_Away.pdf (original, authoritative)|
|Date of entry/update:|| ||17 May 2005|
|Title:|| ||Eastward Bound
|Date of publication:|| ||05 August 2008|
|Description/subject:|| ||Summary of key findings: The report documents 133 verified and suspected trafficking cases, involving 163 women and girls, which occurred between 2004 and mid-2007
. As political and economic conditions inside Burma continue to deteriorate, more and more Kachin women are migrating to China in search of work, and are ending up as forced brides of Chinese men.
. Most of the forced brides were transported across China to marry men in the eastern provinces, particularly Shandong Province. Women described being shown to many men, sometimes in marketplaces, before being chosen. The husbands, predominantly farmers, paid an average of US$1,900 for their brides.
. About a quarter of those trafficked were under 18, with girls as young as 14 forced to be brides. Several cases involved traffickers attempting to buy babies.
. The continuing high incidence of trafficking indicates that the regime's new anti-trafficking law, passed in September 2005, is failing to have any impact in curbing the problem. Provisions in the regime's new law to protect the rights of trafficking victims are not being adhered to. Women are also being falsely accused of trafficking under the new law.
. Women report that Chinese police have been helpful in assisting them to return to Burma, but have sometimes demanded compensation from Burma border officials for repatriating trafficking victims......
Growing numbers of Kachin women trafficked as brides across China
Forced by deteriorating political and economic conditions in Burma to
migrate to China, ethnic Kachin women are increasingly ending up as forced
brides, according to a new report by an indigenous womenÂ¹s group.
Â³Eastward BoundÂ² by the Kachin WomenÂ¹s Association Thailand (KWAT),
documents the trafficking of 163 women and girls between 2004 and mid-2007,
almost all to China. While 40% of the women have simply disappeared, most of
the rest were forced to marry men in provinces across eastern China.
About a quarter of those trafficked were under 18. Most of these girls, as
young as 14, were sold as brides for an average of about USD 2,000, usually
The report highlights how the Burmese regimeÂ¹s new anti-trafficking law,
passed in September 2005, is failing not only to curb trafficking, but also
to protect the rights of trafficked women. Victims have been refused
assistance by the Burmese Embassy in Beijing, denied entry back to Burma,
and falsely accused of trafficking themselves. One woman accused of
trafficking was raped in detention by a local official.
Â³Anti-trafficking laws are meaningless under a regime that systematically
violates peopleÂ¹s rights, and whose policies are driving citizens to
migrate,Â² said Gum Khong, a researcher for the report.
While international agencies have raised the alert about increased
trafficking in Burma following Cyclone Nargis, KWAT cautions against
indirectly endorsing the regimeÂ¹s heavy-handed attempts to control
Â³International agencies must look holistically at the trafficking problem,
and not be complicit in any efforts by the regime to further abuse peopleÂ¹s
rights under the guise of preventing traffickingÂ² said KWAT spokesperson
KWAT first exposed the trafficking of Kachin women on the China-Burma border
in their 2005 report Â³Driven Away.Â²
The new report can be viewed at http://www.womenofburma.org
For hard copies of the report, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information contact: Gum Khong +66 84 616 5245 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +66 84 616 5245 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Shirley Seng +66 84 485 7252|
|Source/publisher:|| ||Kachin Women's Association, Thailand (KWAT)|
|Format/size:|| ||pdf (1.7MB, 2MB - Alt. URL))|
|Alternate URLs:|| ||http://www.womenofburma.org/Report/EastwardBound.pdf|
|Date of entry/update:|| ||04 August 2008|
|Title:|| ||Pushed to the Brink - Conflict and human trafficking on the Kachin-China border
|Date of publication:|| ||05 June 2013|
|Description/subject:|| ||EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: "The Burmese government’s renewed war against the Kachin has exponentially increased the risk
of human trafficking along the China-Burma border. New documentation by KWAT indicates that large-scale
displacement, lack of refugee protection and shortages of humanitarian aid have become significant new push
factors fuelling the trafficking problem.
Burma Army offensives against the Kachin Independence Army since June 2011 and widespread human rights
abuses have driven over 100,000 villagers from their homes, mainly in eastern Kachin State. The majority of
these refugees have fled to crowded IDP camps along the China border, which receive virtually no international
aid. Desperate to earn an income, but with little or no legal option to pursue migrant work in China, many cross
the border illegally. Their lack of legal status renders them extremely vulnerable to exploitation by traffickers,
who use well-trodden routes to transport and sell people into bonded labor or forced marriage as far as eastern
provinces of China.
Although ongoing attacks and massive social upheaval since the start of the conflict have hampered systematic
data collection, KWAT has documented 24 trafficking cases from Kachin border areas since June 2011, mostly
involving young women and girls displaced by the war, who have been tricked, drugged, raped, and sold to
Chinese men or families as brides or bonded laborers. The sale of women and children is a lucrative source
of income for traffickers, who can make as much as 40,000 Yuan (approximately $6,500 USD) per person.
While some manage to escape, and may be assisted by Chinese authorities in returning home, others disappear
without a trace.
Kachin authorities and community-based groups have played a key role in providing help with trafficking
cases, and assisting women to be reunited with their families. No trafficked women or their families sought
help from Burmese authorities. The Burmese government lists an anti-trafficking border liaison office at Loije
on the Kachin-China border, but it is unknown to the community and thought to be non-functional.
Far from seeking to provide protection to the internally displaced persons (IDPs) and mitigate trafficking risks,
the Burmese government has continued to fuel the war, block humanitarian aid to IDPs in Kachin controlled
areas, and even attack and destroy IDP camps, driving refugees into China. It has also closed some of the
immigration offices on the Kachin-China border which could provide border passes for refugees to legally seek
work in China.
It is thus ironic that in 2012, Burma was recognized in the U.S. State Department’s Annual Trafficking in
Persons Report as increasing its efforts in combating human trafficking, resulting in a rise from its bottomlevel
ranking for the first time in the history of the report, and a corresponding increase in financial support to
Burma’s quasi-civilian government.
It is urgently needed to address the structural problems that have led to mass migration and trafficking in the
past and also spurred the recent conflict. The Burmese military’s gross mismanagement of resource revenues
from Kachin State over the past few decades, and ongoing land confiscation, forced relocation, and human
rights abuses, have pushed countless Kachin civilians across the Chinese border in search of peace and the
fulfillment of basic needs. These problems led to the breakdown of the 17-year ceasefire between the Kachin
Independence Army (KIA) and the military-dominated government in 2011. Refusing to engage in dialogue
to address Kachin demands for equality and equitable development, the government launched attacks to seize
total control over the wealth of resources in Kachin State.
Resolving the current conflict via genuine political dialogue would not only be a step towards peace, but
also a concrete move towards curbing human trafficking from Kachin areas. Launching a range of reforms
dealing with the political and economic factors driving people beyond Burma’s borders is critical to addressing
trafficking. Therefore, KWAT recommends the following:..."|
|Source/publisher:|| ||Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT)|
|Format/size:|| ||pdf (1.1MB-OBL version; 1.37MB-original...Press release: Chinese, 90K; Burmese, 40K; English, html)|
|Alternate URLs:|| ||http://www.kachinwomen.com
|Date of entry/update:|| ||05 June 2013|
Discrimination/violence against women: reports of violations in Karen (Kayin) State
|Title:|| ||Dignity in the Shadow of Oppression - The abuse and agency of Karen women under militarisation
|Date of publication:|| ||22 November 2006|
|Description/subject:|| ||"As the State Peace and Development council continues with its aggressive campaign to expand military control over all areas of Karen State, local villagers confront brutal and systematic abuses perpetrated by the junta's armed forces. In light of such abuse, external representations of Karen women have fallen back on stereotypes of women in armed conflict which depict nothing but their helplessness and vulnerability. The findings of this report, however, demonstrate that such representations can be both inaccurate and harmful. They miss the many ways in which Karen women are actively responding to abuse and resisting militarisation, and furthermore undermine local women's attempts to determine for themselves how they, their families and communities are to develop. Such portrayals foster external perceptions and intervention that neglect local concerns and the strategies that these women are already employing to claim their rights. In this report, KHRG examines the patterns of military abuses against Karen women, the many ways these have affected their lives, the manner in which these women have responded to abuse and the ways that this relationship between military abuse and women's agency has led to changes in the roles of women in Karen society...."|
|Language:|| ||English, Karen|
|Source/publisher:|| ||Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG #2006-05)|
|Format/size:|| ||pdf (2MB-English; 1.5MB -Karen)|
|Alternate URLs:|| ||http://www.khrg.org/reports/karenlanguage/khrg0605_karen_language.pdf|
|Date of entry/update:|| ||15 March 2008|
|Title:|| ||Human rights abuses and obstacles to protection: Conditions for civilians amidst ongoing conflict in Dooplaya and Pa'an districts
|Date of publication:|| ||21 January 2011|
|Description/subject:|| ||"Amidst ongoing conflict between the Tatmadaw and armed groups in eastern Dooplaya and Pa'an districts, civilians, aid workers and soldiers from state and non-state armies continue to report a variety of human rights abuses and security concerns for civilians in areas adjacent to Thailand's Tak Province, including: functionally indiscriminate mortar and small arms fire; landmines; arbitrary arrest and detention; sexual violence; and forced portering. Conflict and these conflict-related abuses have displaced thousands of civilians, more than 8,000 of whom are currently taking refuge in discreet hiding places in Thailand. This has interrupted education for thousands of children across eastern Dooplaya and Pa'an districts. The agricultural cycle for farmers has also been severely disrupted; many villagers have been prevented from completing their harvests of beans, corn and paddy crops, portending long-term threats to food security. Due to concerns about food security and disruption to children's education, as well as villagers' continuing need to protect themselves and their families from conflict and conflict-related abuse, temporary but consistent access to refuge in Thailand remains vital until villagers feel safe to return home. Even after return, food support will likely be necessary until disrupted agricultural activities can be resumed and civilians can again support themselves."|
|Source/publisher:|| ||Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)|
|Format/size:|| ||pdf (Main text, 688K; Appendix 188K), html|
|Alternate URLs:|| ||http://www.khrg.org/khrg2011/khrg11f2_appendixes.pdf (Appendix)
|Date of entry/update:|| ||26 February 2012|
|Title:|| ||Mortar attacks, landmines and the destruction of schools in Papun District
|Date of publication:|| ||22 August 2008|
|Description/subject:|| ||"SPDC abuses against civilians continue in northern Karen State, especially in Lu Thaw township of Papun District. Because these villagers live within non-SPDC-controlled "black areas", the SPDC believes it has justification to attack IDP hiding sites and destroy civilian crops, cattle and property. These attacks, combined with the SPDC and KNLA's continued use of landmines, have caused dozens of injuries and deaths in Papun District alone. Such attacks target the fabric of Karen society, breaking up communities and compromising the educations of Karen youth. In spite of these hardships, the local villagers continue to be resourceful in providing security for their families and education for their children. This report covers events in Papun District from May to July 2008..."|
|Source/publisher:|| ||Karen Human Rights Group Field Reports (KHRG #2008-F12)|
|Format/size:|| ||pdf (687 KB)|
|Alternate URLs:|| ||http://www.khrg.org/khrg2008/khrg08f12.html|
|Date of entry/update:|| ||01 November 2009|
|Title:|| ||Nyaunglebin Interview: Naw P---, May 2011
|Date of publication:|| ||26 July 2011|
|Description/subject:|| ||"This report contains the full transcript of an interview conducted by a KHRG researcher in May 2011 with a villager from Ler Doh Township, Nyaunglebin District. The researcher interviewed Naw P---, a 40-year-old farmer who described her experiences living in a Tatmadaw-controlled relocation site, and in her original village in a mixed-administration area under effective Tatmadaw control. Naw P--- described the following human rights abuses: rape and sexual violence; indiscriminate firing on villagers by Tatmadaw soldiers; forced relocation; arrest and detention; movement restrictions; theft and looting; and forced labour, including use of villagers as military sentries and porters. Naw P--- also raised concerns regarding the cost of health care and about children's education, specifically Tatmadaw restrictions on children's movement during perceived military instability and the prohibition of Karen-language education. In order to address these concerns, Naw P--- told KHRG that some villagers pay bribes to avoid forced labour and to secure the release of detained family members; lie to Tatmadaw commanders about the whereabouts of villagers working on farms in violation of movement restrictions; and organise covert Karen-language education for their children."|
|Source/publisher:|| ||Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)|
|Format/size:|| ||pdf (158K)|
|Alternate URLs:|| ||http://www.khrg.org/khrg2011/khrg11b18.html|
|Date of entry/update:|| ||19 February 2012|
|Title:|| ||SHATTERING SILENCES: Karen Women speak out about the Burmese Military Regimeâ€™s use of Rape as a Strategy of War in Karen State
|Date of publication:|| ||02 April 2004|
|Description/subject:|| ||"This report, â€śShattering Silencesâ€ť clearly documents the widespread and systematic rape being committed by the Burmese military against Karen women in Burma. Most of these incidents have been committed with impunity, creating a climate of fear for Karen women in Burma. The cases reported demonstrate how rape is actively being used as a strategy by the SPDC military to intimidate, control, shame and ethnically cleanse Karen groups in Burma. Despite the current â€śceasefire talksâ€ť between the SPDC and the Karen National Union (KNU), the SPDC has continued to perpetrate human rights violations against Karen people in Karen State. At the time of publication in April 2004, Karen women continue to be killed and raped by SPDC soldiers, forced to work as porters and forced from their homes.
This is the first report that focuses on the atrocities being committed by the SLORC/SPDC military against the Karen women. The report explores the patterns of rapes committed against the Karen women by the SLORC/SPDC soldiers and the effects on the women and their families. The report locates these atrocities within a human rights framework, to show the direct link of accountability the SPDC bears for the violations committed in these cases. It also demonstrates the multiplicity of human rights violations occurring, as the rape of women is often committed in conjunction with other human rights violations such as beating, mutilation, torture, murder, forced labour, denial of rights to food, water and shelter, and denial of the right to legal redress. These rapes occur as part of a strategy designed to terrorize and subjugate the Karen people, to completely destroy their culture and communities. This report demonstrates very clearly that it is the women who bear the greatest burden of these systematic attacks, as they are doubly oppressed both on the grounds of their ethnicity and their gender.
Many foreign governments continue talking about Burma as a country which simply lacks democratic systems. In fact, Burma not only lacks democratic principles and institutions, but also has the worst kind of authoritarian regime - one that commits atrocities against its own people, on a scale that amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes. In their speaking out here against the SLORC/SPDC soldiers and commanders who have raped them, the women of courage who have shared their stories have shattered the silences behind which their rapists have hidden. The shame was and is not the womenâ€™s to bear but lies instead with every soldier and commander who has raped Karen women and girls and with the Burmese military regime who continues to allow these gross violations of womenâ€™s human rights to continue with impunity.
As the world comes to realize the full extent of human rights violations being committed by the SPDC, particularly against women from ethnic nationalities, the actions members of the international community take to address this issue becomes critical..."|
|Source/publisher:|| ||The Karen Women's Organization (KWO)|
|Format/size:|| ||html (964K), Word (1.1MB), pdf (1.9MB)|
|Alternate URLs:|| ||http://www.womenofburma.org/Report/Shattering_Silences.doc
|Date of entry/update:|| ||01 April 2004|
|Title:|| ||State of Terror
|Date of publication:|| ||February 2007|
|Description/subject:|| ||The ongoing rape, murder, torture and forced labour suffered by
women living under the Burmese Military Regime in Karen State... Executive Summary: "This report, "State of Terror" clearly documents the range of human rights abuses that continue
to be perpetrated across Karen State as part of the SPDCâ€™s sustained campaign of terror.
The report focuses in particular on the abuses experienced by women and girls and draws on
over 40001 documented cases of human rights abuses perpetrated by the SPDC. These
case studies provide shocking evidence of the entrenched and widespread abuses
perpetrated against the civilian population of Karen State by the Burmese Military Regime.
Many of the recent accounts of human rights violations which occurred in late 2005 and 2006
provide irrefutable evidence that the SPDCâ€™s attacks during this period have increased and
have deliberately targeted the civilian population. The recent dramatic increase in the number
of internally displaced people (IDPs) as well as in those crossing the border in search of
asylum, bears further testimony to the escalation of attacks on the civilian women, men and
children of Karen State.
The report builds on the findings contained in "Shattering Silences", published by the Karen
Womenâ€™s Organisation in April 2004. That report detailed the alarmingly high number of
women and girls who have been raped by the military during the years of the SPDCâ€™s
occupation of Karen State. This new report documents the range of other human rights
abuses experienced by Karen women and girls, in particular those of forced labour and
forced portering. The report locates these atrocities within a human rights framework, to show
the direct link of accountability the SPDC bears for the violations committed in these cases.
It also demonstrates the multiplicity of human rights violations occurring, as forced labour is
often committed in conjunction with other human rights violations such as rape, beating,
mutilation, torture, murder, denial of rights to food, water and shelter, and denial of the right
to legal redress. These human rights abuses occur as part of a strategy designed to terrorise
and subjugate the Karen people, to completely destroy their culture and communities. This
report demonstrates very clearly that it is the women who bear the greatest burden of these
systematic attacks, as they are doubly oppressed both on the grounds of their ethnicity and
Attacks have continued in spite of the informal ceasefire agreement reached with the SPDC
in January 2004. It is clear that rather than honouring the agreement, the SPDC have
proceeded with systematic reinforcement of their military infrastructure across Karen State,
bringing in more troops, increasing their stocks of food and ammunition and building army
camps across the state. From this position of increased strength the SPDC have conducted
ongoing attacks on villages across Karen State since September 2005. As this report goes to
press over one year later, it is clear that rather than abating, the intensity of these attacks has
only increased. Karen women and children continue to be killed and raped by SPDC soldiers,
are subjected to forced labour, including portering, and are displaced from their homes. In the
first half of 2006 alone KWO received reports of almost 5,000 villagers being taken as forced
labourers, with over five times that many being forcibly relocated from their villages as their
farms, homes and rice paddies were burned. As a consequence, increasing numbers of refugees are fleeing across the border into Thailand and many, many more are internally
The world now knows the full extent of human rights violations being committed by the SPDC,
particularly against women and children from the ethnic groups across Burma. The situation
is past critical. The international community must take immediate action to stop these most
|Source/publisher:|| ||The Karen Women's Organisation (KWO)|
|Format/size:|| ||pdf (1.8MB)|
|Date of entry/update:|| ||13 February 2007|
|Title:|| ||State of terror: women at risk
|Date of publication:|| ||22 April 2008|
|Description/subject:|| ||Two reports researched and written by the Karen Womenâ€™s
Organisation â€“ Shattering Silences in 2004 and State of
Terror in 20071 â€“ document the wide range of human
rights abuses against Burmese women and girls.|
|Language:|| ||English, Burmese|
|Source/publisher:|| ||The Karen Womenâ€™s Organisation via "Forced Migration Review" No. 30|
|Format/size:|| ||pdf (Burmese,132K; English, 266K)|
|Alternate URLs:|| ||http://www.fmreview.org/FMRpdfs/FMR30Burmese/12.pdf|
|Date of entry/update:|| ||30 November 2008|
|Title:|| ||Tenasserim Interview: Saw C---, Received in May 2011
|Date of publication:|| ||09 September 2011|
|Description/subject:|| ||"This report contains the full transcript of an interview conducted prior to Burma's November 2010 elections in Te Naw Th’Ri Township, Tenasserim Division by a villager trained by KHRG to monitor human rights conditions. The villager interviewed Saw C---, a 30-year-old married hill field farmer who told KHRG that he was appointed to the position of village head by his local VPDC in an area of Te Naw Th’Ri Township that is frequently accessed by Tatmadaw troops, and in which there is no KNLA presence. Saw C--- described human rights abuses faced by residents of his village, including: demands for forced labour; theft and looting of villagers' property; and movement restrictions that prevent villagers from accessing agricultural workplaces. He also cited an incident in which a villager was shot and killed by Tatmadaw soldiers while fishing in a nearby river, and his death subsequently concealed; and recounted abuses he witnessed when forced to porter military rations and accompany Tatmadaw soldiers during foot patrols, including the theft and looting of villagers’ property and the rape of a 50-year-old woman. Saw C--- told KHRG that villagers protect themselves in the following ways: collecting flowers from the jungle to sell in local markets in order to supplement incomes, failing to comply with orders to report to a Tatmadaw camp, and using traditional herbal remedies due to difficulties accessing healthcare. He noted, however, that these strategies can be limited, for example by threats of violence against civilians by Tatmadaw soldiers or scarcity of plants commonly used in herbal remedies."|
|Source/publisher:|| ||Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)|
|Format/size:|| ||pdf (169K)|
|Alternate URLs:|| ||http://www.khrg.org/khrg2011/khrg11b29.html|
|Date of entry/update:|| ||01 February 2012|
|Title:|| ||Torture of Karen Women by SLORC
|Date of publication:|| ||16 February 1993|
|Description/subject:|| ||Story or three women totured by SLORC|
|Source/publisher:|| ||Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) Regional & Thematic Reports|
|Date of entry/update:|| ||14 November 2009|
|Title:|| ||Walking Amongst Sharp Knives - The unsung courage of Karen women village chiefs in conflict areas of Eastern Burma
|Date of publication:|| ||February 2010|
|Description/subject:|| ||EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:
"In lowland Karen areas in Eastern Burma women are increasingly taking
on the role of village chief, as male village chiefs are more likely to be
killed by the Burma Army.
This change, overturning deeply engrained tradition, has put women
further into the front line of human rights abuses being committed by
the Burma Army and their allies.
This report by the Karen Women Organization, based on the testimonies
of 95 women chiefs, exposes for the first time the impacts of this dramatic
The abuses experienced or witnessed by the women chiefs include:
â€˘ People burnt alive
â€˘ Rape, including gang rape
â€˘ Many forms of torture, including beatings and â€śwater tortureâ€ť
â€˘ People buried up to their heads in earth and beaten to death
â€˘ Arbitrary executions
â€˘ Slave labour...
Many of the abuses described in this report would appear to be in breach
of international law, including five articles of the Rome Statute, of the
International Criminal Court.
The practice of electing women as village chiefs has spread through
lowland Karen areas of Eastern Burma since the 1980s, as Burmaâ€™s military
regime has expanded control and increased persecution of these war-torn
communities. With men increasingly reluctant to risk their lives as chiefs,
women have stepped in to assume leadership in the hope of mitigating
abuses. However, testimonies of women chiefs show that, far from being
exempt from the brutality of the Burma Army, they have faced ongoing
systematic abuse, including gender-based violence.
This report is based on interviews with women chiefs from five districts
of Eastern Burma: Papun (Mutraw), Dooplaya, Thaton (Doo Tha Htu),
Nyaunglebin (Kler Lwee Htu), and Pa-an. They are aged from 25 to 82.
The average length of time they served as chiefs was nine years; about one
third of the women are still serving as chiefs.
The women chiefs not only describe their daily struggle to fulfill the
constant demands of the Burma Army for labour, food, building materials,
â€śtaxesâ€ť and intelligence, but also testify to their systematic use of terror
tactics to subjugate villagers and prevent them from cooperating with the
Apart from bearing witness to numerous instances of abuse and murder
of fellow-villagers, the chiefs themselves have suffered brutal punishment
for alleged non-cooperation. One third of the women interviewed had
been physically beaten or tortured.
The women also testify to ongoing impunity for sexual violence. They
describe incidents of gang-rape, rape of girl-children and rape-murder for
which they were unable to seek redress. They also describe being forced
to provide â€ścomfort womenâ€ť for the Burma Army troops.
The women chiefsâ€™ own vulnerability to gender-based violence has
been deliberately exploited by the Burma Army as a means of intimidation.
Rape of women chiefs was described as common, and several chiefs
described being gang-raped. Pregnant and nursing women chiefs were
also subjected to forced labour and grueling interrogation.
Despite the constant threat of violence, the womenâ€™s stories reveal their
extraordinary strength and courage in assuming leadership and seeking to
protect the rights of their communities. They have repeatedly dared to
challenge and complain to Burma Army troops about abuses and in some
cases managed to secure compensation and even rescinding of unjust
The women chiefs have also suffered great personal stress from being
unable to fulfill their traditional household roles and care for their
families. Several were blamed by their husbands for being â€śmarried to the
SPDCâ€ť because they had to follow their orders.
This report provides poignant insight into the challenges of women
assuming leadership in a patriarchal and militarized society. The KWO
hopes that this report will help bring recognition of these brave women
for their sacrifices not only at the front line of abuses by Burmaâ€™s military
dictatorship, but at the forefront of the struggle for gender equality in
|Source/publisher:|| ||Karen Women's Organization|
|Format/size:|| ||pdf (2.31MB)|
|Alternate URLs:|| ||http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs08/WalkingAmongstSharpKnives.pdf|
|Date of entry/update:|| ||25 February 2010|