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Women: discrimination/violence against

  • Discrimination/violence against women: standards, mechanisms and commentary - international and Myanmar-specific

    Websites/Multiple Documents

    Title: Link to the OBL section on CEDAW
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: United Nations
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 29 November 2014


    Individual Documents

    Title: A DECLARATION OF COMMITMENT TO END SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN CONFLICT
    Date of publication: 24 September 2013
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: United Nations
    Format/size: pdf (254K)
    Alternate URLs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UN_Action_Against_Sexual_Violence_in_Conflict
    http://www.un.org/sexualviolenceinconflict/press-release/122-countries-endorse-historic-declaration...
    Date of entry/update: 07 June 2014


    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 ‘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
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: University of Nottingham School of Law (Dissertation)
    Format/size: html (348K)
    Date of entry/update: 19 July 2004


    Title: Myanmar Laws And CEDAW - The Case for Anti‐Violence Against Women Laws (Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
    Date of publication: January 2013
    Description/subject: "Gender equality recognizes that while women and men are physically different, they are entitled to the same opportunities for self realization and the same human dignity. Enhancing women’s security, establishing institutional practices and laws that do not reinforce power imbalances, and providing appropriate mechanisms for redress ‐‐ are essential elements to ensure equality. Whilst laws and policies may state formally that men and women are equal, they must also take into account the prevailing conditions that prevent women from actually experiencing equality. Myanmar acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1997. As part of its treaty obligations, Myanmar has committed to ensuring that its laws uphold women’s rights and advance women’s equality. This Briefing Paper aims to provide background information relevant to women's rights and protection in Myanmar, analysis of existing laws and their compliance with CEDAW norms, and comparative experience from three ASEAN neighbours. The Paper supports the creation of Anti‐Violence Against Women Laws as part of larger law reform strategies..."
    Language: Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ (Metadata: English)
    Source/publisher: Gender Equality Network (GEN)
    Format/size: pdf (4MB)
    Date of entry/update: 04 December 2014


    Title: Myanmar Laws And CEDAW - The Case for Anti‐Violence Against Women Laws (English)
    Date of publication: January 2013
    Description/subject: "Gender equality recognizes that while women and men are physically different, they are entitled to the same opportunities for self realization and the same human dignity. Enhancing women’s security, establishing institutional practices and laws that do not reinforce power imbalances, and providing appropriate mechanisms for redress ‐‐ are essential elements to ensure equality. Whilst laws and policies may state formally that men and women are equal, they must also take into account the prevailing conditions that prevent women from actually experiencing equality. Myanmar acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1997. As part of its treaty obligations, Myanmar has committed to ensuring that its laws uphold women’s rights and advance women’s equality. This Briefing Paper aims to provide background information relevant to women's rights and protection in Myanmar, analysis of existing laws and their compliance with CEDAW norms, and comparative experience from three ASEAN neighbours. The Paper supports the creation of Anti‐Violence Against Women Laws as part of larger law reform strategies..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Gender Equality Network (GEN)
    Format/size: pdf (2.5MB)
    Date of entry/update: 04 December 2014


    Title: Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, UNHCHR Page
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


  • Discrimination/violence against women: reports of violations in Burma
    Not a comprehensive list. For more, including updates, go to the publishers' home pages and search. Also use the OBL search function.

    Websites/Multiple Documents

    Title: International Women's Rights Action Watch
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: International Women's Rights Action Watch
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 25 November 2010


    Title: Karen Women's Organisation
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Karen Women's Organisation
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: Shan Women's Action Network (SWAN)
    Description/subject: "SWAN is a founding member of the Women's League of Burma (WLB), an umbrella women's organization comprising eleven women's groups from Burma. SWAN, through its affiliation with other women's organizations, establishes common platforms to promote the role of women from Burma in the struggle for democracy and human rights in their country. SWAN's objectives: * Promoting women's rights and the rights of children; * Opposing exploitation of and violence against women and children; * Working together for peace and freedom in our society; * Empowering women for a better life; * Raising awareness to preserve natural resources and the environment. Background of SWAN SWAN was set up on 28 March 1999 by a group of Shan women active in Thailand and along the Thai- Burma border seeking to address the needs of Shan women. In fact, before the formation of SWAN, Shan women in various locations had already been active in a number of projects to assist women. Even though informal networks were in place, it was felt that more could be achieved, in addressing both practical and strategic needs of Shan women, if a more concrete network among the various women could be formed. This Shan women's network would also be able to coordinate with other women's organizations from Burma, as well as GOs and NGOs working with women locally, nationally and internationally. General Background The Shan State is over 64,000 square kilometers in size and forms the eastern part of the Union of Burma bordering China, Laos and Thailand. The people of the Shan State, like in other areas of Burma, suffer from abuse inflicted by the Burmese military regime, which according to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch Asia is amongst the worst in the world. The abuse inflicted on the Shan people by the Burmese military has forced many people to flee for their lives to Thailand. The Thai government, however, does not recognize the Shan people as refugees and unlike the Karen and Karenni refugees, has not allowed them to set up refugees camps along the Thai-Burmese border. Consequently the Shans are forced to enter Thailand illegally, which leaves them extremely vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Despite this, Shan people are still coming to take refuge in Thailand. The estimated number of Shans working illegally in Thailand is at least 300,000. Among them are many girls and young women who have been trafficked into Thai brothels, where they face a wide range of abuse including sexual and other physical violence, debt bondage, exposure to HIV/AIDS, forced labor without payment and illegal confinement..." Reports, programmes etc.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Shan Women's Action Network (SWAN)
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: April 2003


    Title: Women's League of Burma (WLB)
    Description/subject: Well-designed site containing several substantial reports, links, profiles of member organisations, etc. Members: Kachin Women's Association - Thailand (KWAT); Karen Women's Organization (KWO); Kuki Women's Human Rights Organization (KWHRO); Lahu Women's Organization (LWO); Palaung Women's Organization (PWO); Pa-O Women's Union (PWU); Rakhaing Women's Union (RWU); Shan Women's Action Network (SWAN); Tavoy Women's Union (TWU); Women's Rights & Welfare Association of Burma (WRWAB)... "The Women's League of Burma (WLB) is an umbrella organization comprising 11 already-existing women's organizations of different ethnic backgrounds from Burma. WLB was founded on December 9,1999. Its mission is to work for women's empowerment and advancement of the status of women, and to work for the increased participation of women in all spheres of society in the democracy movement, and in peace and national reconciliation processes through capacity building, advocacy, research and documentation... Aims: * To work for the empowerment and development of women. * To encourage women's participation in decision-making in all spheres of life. * To enable women to participate effectively in the movement for peace, democracy and national reconciliation. By working together, and encouraging cooperation between the different groups, the Women's League of Burma hopes to build trust, solidarity and mutual understanding among women of all nationalities in Burma.".... The site also contains statements made by WLB representatives at various regional and international meetings including the Commission on Human Rights and the World Conference Against Racism.
    Language: English, (links in Burmese, Thai)
    Source/publisher: Women's League of Burma
    Format/size: html, pdf
    Date of entry/update: 28 October 2003


    Individual Documents

    Title: "MIGRATING WITH HOPE": Burmese Women Working in Thailand and The Sex Industry
    Date of publication: July 1997
    Description/subject: "...This report, "Migrating With Hope: Burmese Women Working In Thailand and The Sex Industry" attempts to present and highlight the needs, interests, and realities of undocumented migrant women from Burma working as sex-workers in Thailand. We look at the lives of women in Burma, the migration processes, processes of entry into the sex-industry, and factors which govern women's wellbeing or suffering during the time of migration in Thailand. The authors hope that the documentation presented will provide useful information to prospective migrants from Burma. We also hope that it can be used to instigate programmes to protect the rights of and to provide the necessary services for undocumented migrant workers, and by doing this, prevent more Burmese women from being exploited. This report is written in the knowledge that women can become empowered to make informed choices about their lives. It is also hoped that this report will provide the general public with information not only about Burmese migrant women, but also about the situation of undocumented migrant workers who flee from Burma, a country ruled by a military regime..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Images Asia
    Format/size: pdf (284K)
    Date of entry/update: 19 May 2005


    Title: "Escape From the Bear and Run Into the Tiger": The Impact of Violence and Fear on Migrants' Reproductive Health
    Date of publication: December 2000
    Description/subject: "The massive influx of migrants from Burma into Thailand is one of the largest migrant populations in Asia. Over one million migrants from Burma are currently residing in Thailand. An ethnically diverse group coming from all over Burma and speaking many different languages, these migrants often lack a common language even among themselves. What they do share are encounters of fear and violence, that affect most facets of their lives. During 1998, an Assessment of Reproductive and Sexual Health Perspectives, Concerns and Realities of Migrant Workers from Burma in Thailand was conducted under the guidance of Mahidol University's Institute of Population and Social Research (IPSR). The recently published results of the study reveal that a fear of violence and a preoccupation with staying safe determines almost every aspect of the migrants' lives, including their health care options and decisions. The study highlights the extremely limited health services that exist in Burma as well as the problems encountered by migrants in Thailand such as the ready availability of medicines without access to health services or education. Consequently, people from Burma suffer from easily treatable conditions, presenting a health care crisis on both sides of the border. Most migrants from Burma in Thailand reside illegally and are generally unable to communicate in Thai. They are often in situations which leave them vulnerable to violence and abuse by employers, authorities and even each other. These experiences, coupled with fears of violence and exploitation, create a vacuum in which the migrants have few or no options for health services. This reality is further compounded by cultural mores and the lack of basic and reproductive health education, which lead to high maternal mortality and morbidity rates, unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV/ AIDS)..."
    Author/creator: Therese Caouette
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "Burma Debate" VOL. VII, NO. 4 WINTER 2000
    Format/size: pdf (329K - article; 1.22MB - full magazine)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs11/BD2000-V07-N04.pdf
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: "If Not Now, When? Addressing Gender-based Violence in Refugee, Internally Displaced and Post-conflict Settings. A Global Overview. 2002" (Extract on Burma and Thailand)
    Date of publication: June 2002
    Description/subject: This extract offers a brief overview of gender-based violence in Burma and among Burmese refugees in Thailand. "...Women have been victims of the well-documented and pervasive human rights abuses also suffered by men, including forced labor on government construction projects, forced portering for the army, summary arrest, torture and extra-judicial execution. These and other human rights violations are committed sometimes in the course of military operations, but more often as part of the army's policy of repression of ethnic minority civilians. Women and girls are specifically targeted for rape and sexual harassment by soldiers. Many of the areas in Burma where soldiers rape women are not areas of active conflict, though they may have large numbers of standing troops. There has been little action on the part of the state to reduce the prevalence of sexual abuse by its military personnel or ensure that the perpetrators of these crimes are brought to justice..." For the full report, covering most parts of the world, follow the link below.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: International Rescue Committee, Women's Commission on Refugee Women and Children
    Format/size: html, pdf
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: A MOCKERY OF JUSTICE: THE STATE PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL'S INVESTIGATION INTO THE "LICENCE TO RAPE" REPORT
    Date of publication: 24 September 2002
    Description/subject: "The "Licence to Rape" report was launched internationally on 19 June 2002. Following statements in the U.S. Congress and by the U.S. State Department in late June and early July, deploring the use of sexual violence by the Burmese military regime against Shan women, the regime began publicly denouncing the report. In the regime's first public statement on 3 July 2002, the Burmese Ambassador to the U.S. called the report "unverified testimonies" of "so-called victims." On July 12th and 30th, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) held press conferences, and denounced the report as "fabrications of the insurgents." On 2 August, it was announced that the SPDC had launched an investigation into the report. SPDC Deputy Home Minister Brig-Gen.Thura Myint Maung was quoted in the state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper as saying that the investigation was being made to "refute�preposterous accusations." Investigation teams were sent to Shan State from 18-30 August. The teams were led by Brig-General Thura Myint Maung himself, and Dr. Daw Khin Win Shwe, wife of General Khin Nyunt. On 23 August (before completion of the investigation), the SPDC held a briefing for heads of diplomatic missions and UN agencies in Rangoon, claiming to have found the allegations in the "Licence to Rape" report as "groundless and malicious." * * http://www3.itu.int/MISSIONS/Myanmar/n020824.htm#3 SWAN refutes the findings of this staged "investigation" by the SPDC. Reports received have revealed that the "investigation" was fraudulent. It is clear that under the current military regime, with no rule of law and no faith in its institutions, no-one will dare testify against perpetrators who have absolute power in their communities. The Burmese army's "licence to rape" continues (see Appendix II for recent incidences). SWAN has compiled available evidence to counter the SPDC's "findings": ..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Shan Women's Action Network
    Format/size: html (19K)
    Date of entry/update: 25 November 2010


    Title: A MODERN FORM OF SLAVERY:
    Date of publication: August 1993
    Description/subject: A substantial and important report. ""Lin Lin" was thirteen years old when she was recruited by an agent for work in Thailand. Her father took $480 from the agent with the understanding that his daughter would pay the loan back out of her earnings. The agent took "Lin Lin" to Bangkok, and three days later she was taken to the Ran Dee Prom brothel. "Lin Lin" did not know what was going on until a man came into her room and started touching her breasts and body and then forced her to have sex. For the next two years, "Lin Lin" worked in various parts of Thailand in four different brothels, all but one owned by the same family. The owners told her she would have to keep prostituting herself until she paid off her father's debt. Her clients, who often included police, paid the owner $4 each time. If she refused a client's demands, she was slapped and threatened by the owner. She worked every day except for the two days off each month she was allowed for her menstrual period. Once she had to borrow money to pay for medicine to treat a painful vaginal infection. This amount was added to her debt. On January 18, 1993 the Crime Suppression Division of the Thai police raided the brothel in which "Lin Lin" worked, and she was taken to a shelter run by a local non-governmental organization. She was fifteen years old, had spent over two years of her young life in compulsory prostitution, and tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV. "Lin Lin" is just one of thousands of Burmese women and girls who have been trafficked and sold into what amounts to female sexual slavery in Thailand. In the last two years, Thai NGOs estimate that at a minimum, some twenty thousand Burmese women and girls are suffering Lee's fate, or worse, and that ten thousand new recruits come in every year. They are moved from one brothel to another as the demand for new faces dictates, and often end up being sent back to Burma after a year or two to recruit their own successors..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Asia Watch and the Women's Rights Project (Human Rights Watch)
    Format/size: html (394K)
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: Behind the Silence - Violence Against Women and their Resilience, Myanmar Briefing Paper (Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ )
    Date of publication: 26 November 2014
    Description/subject: The full version of this Briefing Paper will be published in February 2015..... Background: "Violence against women is a serious and reprehensible human rights violation that directly and indirectly affects the health, livelihoods and opportunities of women in Myanmar. Civil society actors, government authorities and international agencies increasingly recognize the extent and scope of this issue across the country. However, there has been little rigorous research conducted on this topic among women in Myanmar’s general population. This qualitative study on violence against women helps to fill the gap on what is known about women’s experiences of abuse and violence by their husbands and other men. This Briefing Paper provides a summary of the research findings from the full report. In carrying out this study, GEN collaborated closely with the Department of Social Welfare. The research was also approved by the Ethical Review Committee of the Department of Medical Research, Lower Myanmar. There is increasing interest and investment by the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, as well as national and international actors, to build the evidence base, and to enhance activities to respond to and prevent violence against women across the country. The study was commissioned by GEN, an active inter-agency network, comprising over 100 national and international non-government organisations, civil society organisations, networks and technical resource persons...
    Language: Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ (Metadata: English)
    Source/publisher: Gender Equality Network (GEN)
    Format/size: pdf (1.5MB-reduced version; 8.3MB-original)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs20/GEN-2014-11-Behind_the_Silence-bu.pdf
    Date of entry/update: 29 November 2014


    Title: Behind the Silence - Violence Against Women and their Resilience. Myanmar Briefing Paper (English)
    Date of publication: 26 November 2014
    Description/subject: The full version of this Briefing Paper will be published in February 2015..... Background: "Violence against women is a serious and reprehensible human rights violation that directly and indirectly affects the health, livelihoods and opportunities of women in Myanmar. Civil society actors, government authorities and international agencies increasingly recognize the extent and scope of this issue across the country. However, there has been little rigorous research conducted on this topic among women in Myanmar’s general population. This qualitative study on violence against women helps to fill the gap on what is known about women’s experiences of abuse and violence by their husbands and other men. This Briefing Paper provides a summary of the research findings from the full report. In carrying out this study, GEN collaborated closely with the Department of Social Welfare. The research was also approved by the Ethical Review Committee of the Department of Medical Research, Lower Myanmar. There is increasing interest and investment by the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, as well as national and international actors, to build the evidence base, and to enhance activities to respond to and prevent violence against women across the country. The study was commissioned by GEN, an active inter-agency network, comprising over 100 national and international non-government organisations, civil society organisations, networks and technical resource persons..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Gender Equality Network (GEN)
    Format/size: pdf (1.1MB-reduced version; 3.75K-original )
    Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs20/GEN-2014-11-Behind_the_Silence-en.pdf
    Date of entry/update: 29 November 2014


    Title: Beyond Trafficking Jams: Creating a Space for Trafficked Women
    Date of publication: February 2001
    Description/subject: Trafficking in women stems from society's failure to recognize the valueof certain forms of labor, leaving women engaged in them open to every imaginable form of exploitation. Trafficked women need more than pity, argues Jackie Pollock: They need room to find their own solutions to the problems facing their respective professions.
    Author/creator: Jackie Pollock
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy, Vol. 9. No. 2
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: Briefing on false allegations on sexual violence against women held
    Date of publication: 23 August 2002
    Description/subject: See also the report, "License to Rape" and "A Mockery of Justice", the reply by the authors of "License to Rape" to the present document
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The New Light of Myanmar" 24 August 2002
    Format/size: html (21K) Click on para 3
    Date of entry/update: 25 November 2010


    Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 1994: 09 - Abuse of Women
    Date of publication: September 1995
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit of the NCGUB
    Format/size: html (61K)
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2000: Women's Rights
    Date of publication: October 2001
    Description/subject: Events of 2000. Women in Politics, Health of women from Burma, Women and Forced Labor, Violence against Women, Trafficking of Women, Rape and sexual violence - Partial list of incidents, "Since the military regime took power in 1962, it has had to put disproportionate resources into maintaining its power and strengthening the military. The result of this and ongoing civil war is poor infrastructure, inadequate health care and education systems, widespread poverty and a militarized society that puts the needs of the civilian population, particularly women, second to military concerns. The elevation of the military in society has enforced stereotypes about the subordinate status of women while at the same time blocked access to the tools, such as education and health care, that women need to attain genuine equality. Although the military regime became a party to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination of Women (CEDAW) in 1997 it has done little more than make token changes, such as the formation of some womens organizations, to implement it..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit, NCGUB
    Format/size: html
    Alternate URLs: Main page of the Yearbook: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/yearbooks/Main.htm
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2001-2002: Women's Rights
    Date of publication: September 2002
    Description/subject: "...The elevation of the military in society has enforced stereotypes about the subordinate status of women while at the same time blocked access to the tools, such as education and health care, that women need to attain genuine equality. Although the military regime became a party to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination of Women (CEDAW) in 1997 it has done little more than make token changes, such as the formation of some womens organizations, to implement the tenets of the convention. Ethnic women living in conflict areas are particularly vulnerable to human rights abuses. Health care and education is severely underdeveloped in these areas, including access to family planning methods. Women in these areas are also subject to forced relocations, forced labor, forced portering in war zones, physical abuse and sexual violations. These are directed, primarily, at ethnic minorities seeking autonomy. Women in conflict areas find themselves vulnerable to abuse and lacking in their basic needs, which may force them into becoming refugees or migrants...."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit, NCGUB
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2002-03: Women's Rights
    Date of publication: October 2003
    Description/subject: "Since the military regime took power in 1962, it has put disproportionate resources into maintaining its power and strengthening the military. The result of this and the ongoing civil war is poor infrastructure, inadequate health care and education systems, widespread poverty and a militarized society that puts the needs of the civilian population, particularly women, second to military concerns. The elevation of the military in society has enforced stereotypes about the subordinate status of women while at the same time blocked access to the tools, such as education and health care, women need to attain genuine equality. Although the military regime became a party to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination of Women (CEDAW) in 1997 it has done little more than make token changes, such as the formation of some women’s organizations, to implement the tenets of the convention. Ethnic women living in conflict areas are particularly vulnerable to human rights abuses. Health care and education is severely underdeveloped in these areas, including access to family planning methods. Women in these areas are also subject to forced relocations, forced labor, forced portering in war zones, physical abuse and sexual violations. These are directed, primarily, at ethnic minorities seeking autonomy. Women in conflict areas find themselves vulnerable to abuse and lacking in their basic needs which may force them into becoming refugees or migrants..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit, NCGUB
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 10 November 2003


    Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2008 - Chapter 17: Rights of Women
    Date of publication: 23 November 2009
    Description/subject: "Women in Burma continued to suffer discrimination and violence throughout 2008, despite representatives of the ruling junta, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) arguing otherwise. The SPDC states that women in Burma enjoy full rights from the moment they are born and often point to the relatively autonomous role they claim women in Burma have traditionally enjoyed in any discussions on the rights of women. However, traditional patriarchal notions about women’s proper role in society have helped foster a climate that effectively obstructs any advancement towards women’s rights and gender equality. Women’s abilities are seen as limited, and their activities therefore curtailed. In addition, recent history has all but destroyed the collective capacity of Burmese women to attain real equality...Women rarely receive equal pay for equal work and are severely underrepresented in the civil service and in other decision-making positions.5 Significantly, since the military coup in 1962 women have been barred from any positions with real political power as these jobs are reserved for the military, which women are all but banned from. Domestic laws regarding specific crimes often committed against women, such as domestic violence and sexual violence, are sorely lacking: there is no law to address domestic violence and only some sections of the Penal Code dating from 1860 and not changed since, deal with sexual and gender based violence.6 Recent anti-trafficking laws have been widely criticised for restricting women’s freedom of movement, as women under 25 have been prohibited from travelling to neighbouring countries, leaving many vulnerable to relying on traffickers to cross the borders...A most troubling aspect of women’s rights In Burma has been the continuing reports of widespread gender-specific sexual violence and abuse committed by military forces in the border areas. A significant number of rape cases have been documented since 2002. Their systemic nature has led to concerns of specific targeting of some ethnic and religious groups. However, the junta denies this, and the practices continue with the ostensible sanction of those higher up the command chain..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Human Rights Docmentation Unit (HRDU)
    Format/size: pdf (718K)
    Date of entry/update: 06 December 2009


    Title: Burma's Soldiers: Equal Opportunity Rapists
    Date of publication: 26 November 2002
    Description/subject: "In the Burmese language, Burma’s military is named the Pyithu Tatmadaw, or the People’s Army. The Tatmadaw, according to Burma’s ruling military regime, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), “safeguards national solidarity and peace.” According to women from Burma’s ethnic nationalities (ethnic minority groups), particularly those living in the ethnic States along Burma’s borders, the Tatmadaw does the opposite. Rather than look to the Tatmadaw for protection, women from the ethnic nationalities flee in fear at the sight of a soldier. A recent investigation by the Women’s Rights Project and Refugees International documents the widespread use of rape by Burma’s soldiers to brutalize women from five different ethnic nationalities..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: EarthRights International
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 25 November 2010


    Title: Burmese Military Regime’s Systematic Use of Rape against Ethnic Shan Women
    Date of publication: 07 January 2003
    Description/subject: Asia Social Forum, Hyderabad, India, January 2-7-2003... Statement by Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN)... "Since the Burmese Army troops began coming into Shan State, they have been abusing the local populations. Women have always been easy targets, and have been vulnerable to sexual violence. Sexual violence serves the multiple purposes of not only terrorizing local communities onto submission, but also flaunting the power of the dominant troops over the enemy’s women, and thereby humiliating and demoralizing resistance forces. It also serves as a “reward” to troops for fighting..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN)
    Format/size: pdf (75K)
    Date of entry/update: April 2003


    Title: Burmese Sisterhood: Unacknowledged Piety
    Date of publication: September 2000
    Description/subject: Buddhist nuns have long played an important role in the country's spiritual life, despite centuries of discrimination.
    Author/creator: Thameechit
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 8. No. 9
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: CEDAW 1999: Initial Report of Myanmar
    Date of publication: 25 June 1999
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: United Nations (CEDAW/C/MMR/1)
    Format/size: pdf (203K)
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: CEDAW 2000: (Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women): Concluding Observations on Myanmar
    Date of publication: 28 January 2000
    Description/subject: (CEDAW/C/2000/I/CRP.3/Add.2/Rev.1.)
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: United Nations.
    Format/size: pdf (51K)
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: CEDAW 2000: Examination of the Initial Report of Myanmar
    Date of publication: 21 January 2000
    Description/subject: 21 January 2000: 1) U Win Mra's Statement; 2) Questions from the Committee; 3) Response by Myanmar; 4) Shadow Report by the Women's Organizations of Burma's Shadow Report Writing Committee: "Burma: The Current State of Women - Conflict Area Specific". Includes recommendations on health, education, violence against women and poverty.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "Burma Debate" Vol. VI, No, 4
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: CHR 2003; Stop Licence to Rape in Burma
    Date of publication: 09 April 2003
    Description/subject: Position paper prepared by Shan Womens Action Network (SWAN) for the 59th session of the UN Commission on aHuman Rights. 17 March -25 April, 2003. "Since 1992, the UNCHR has passed resolutions each year on the situation of human rights in Burma. The reports by the UN Special Rapporteurs on Burma submitted to the UN General Assembly since 1992 have contained an abundance of summaries of testimonies of extreme human rights violations committed by the Burmese military regime, including military rape.] In the 1994 report, one recommendation reads, "The Government of Myanmar should take the necessary steps to bring the acts of soldiers, including privates and officers, in line with accepted international human rights and humanitarian standards so that they will not commit arbitrary killings, rapes and confiscations of property, or force persons into acts of labour, portering, relocation or otherwise treat persons without respect for their dignity as human beings." The Special Rapporteur on Burma's 2003 report contains similar recommendations..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Shan Womens Action Network (SWAN)
    Format/size: html (58K), pdf (136K)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.apwld.org/pdf/SWANCHR_paper.pdf
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: Courage to Resist - Women Human Rights Defenders of Burma
    Date of publication: November 2007
    Description/subject: "...these women human rights defenders have been subjected to the following abuses, in violation of their fundamental human rights as guaranteed under the UN Declaration on Human Rights, the Declaration of Human Rights Defenders, the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women: *Attacks on life, bodily and mental integrity – including torture; ‘hostage-taking’; sexual assault such as tearing their clothes and sarongs; excessive use of force in crackdowns on the demonstrations and the subsequent arrests; * Physical and psychological deprivation of liberty – such as arbitrary arrests and detention, forcing many of them to go into hiding for their safety; * Attacks against personhood and reputations – which include verbal abuse; slander, labelling them as ‘terrorists’; smear campaigns through the media; sexuality-baiting, which is the manipulative use of negative ideas about sexuality to intimidate, humiliate or embarrass women, with the intention of inhibiting or destroying their political agendas. * Invasion of privacy and violations involving personal relationships such as arrest, detention and intimidation of family members, endangering pregnant women and separating breastfeeding mothers from their babies; * Violations of women’s freedom of expression, association and assembly; * Non-recognition of violations and impunity...."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Women's League of Burma
    Format/size: pdf (437K)
    Date of entry/update: 23 November 2007


    Title: Double Jeopardy: Abuse of Ethnic Women's Human Rights in Burma
    Date of publication: 31 October 2000
    Description/subject: "Many sociologists, anthropologists, and even Burmese politicians have maintained that Burmese women face less gender discrimination than do their sisters in other Southeast Asian countries. Burma's relative isolation for nearly forty years has helped perpetuate this myth, even as women's groups in exile make concerted efforts to debunk it. Despite Burma's ratification of the Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), discrimination is apparent in virtually every facet of women's lives. Its consequences are most visible in the country's remote rural areas, populated primarily by ethnic peoples, where gender discrimination is compounded by civil war. Because of the diversity among Burma's 135 officially-recognized ethnic groups, generalizing about them is risky. However, there clearly exists a country-wide pattern to the abuses suffered by Karen, Karenni, Mon, Shah, Kachin, Chin, Arakanese, Rohingya, and other ethnic women. In naming itself the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), the ruling military junta neatly highlights the two areas in which it most consistently fails the country's citizens: peace and development. Government neglect of social programs diminishes women's access to health care, education, and economic resources, while military campaigns to eliminate ethnic resistance put women's lives and wellbeing under constant threat. For years, even decades, human rights organizations have documented human rights violations against ethnic women in Burma. Only recently have Burmese women's organizations in exile had the means to publicize the lesser-known consequences of oppression for women..."
    Author/creator: Brenda Belak
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "Cultural Survival Quarterly" Issue 24.3
    Format/size: html
    Alternate URLs: http://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/csq/print/article_print.cfm?id=66D866F8-EAA6-4BE6-85B8...
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: For Sex Workers, A Life of Risks
    Date of publication: 25 February 2010
    Description/subject: RANGOON, Feb 25, 2010 (IPS) - When Aye Aye (not her real name) leaves her youngest son at home each night, she tells him that she has to work selling snacks. But what Aye actually sells is sex so that her 12-year-old son, a Grade 7 student, can finish his education.
    Author/creator: Mon Mon Myat
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: IPS
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 02 November 2010


    Title: Gathering Strength - Women from Burma on their Rights
    Date of publication: January 2002
    Description/subject: Link to the URLs of the individual chapters (pdf): IMAGES ASIA'S CEDAW PROJECT METHODOLOGY: THE AIM OF THIS REPORT 11; THE INTERVIEW PROCESS 11; OBSTACLES ENCOUNTERED DURING RESEARCH 13; DATA ANALYSIS 14; OTHER PROJECT AIMS 17. THE CEDAW & THE GOVERNMENT'S OBLIGATIONS: THE CEDAW & THE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S RIGHTS MOVEMENT; STRUCTURE OF THE CEDAW; GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS; CEDAW MONITORING MECHANISMS; THE SPDC AT THE 22ND SESSION OF THE CEDAW... MEETINGS & MACHINERY: THE GOVERNMENT'S COMMITMENT TO THE CEDAW: OVERVIEW; THE BURMESE WAY TO EQUALITY; FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATIONS... SOCIAL ROLES & GENDER STEREOTYPES: OVERVIEW; RELIGION & GENDER DISCRIMINATION; PRESERVERS OF CULTURE; FAMILY ROLES; SOCIAL RELATIONS & BEHAVIOURAL NORMS; RESTRICTIONS; FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATIONS... VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: OVERVIEW; WOMEN IN WAR; RELOCATION & DISPLACEMENT; SEXUAL VIOLENCE & ARMED CONFLICT; SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN AREAS OF MILITARY OCCUPATION; SEXUAL VIOLENCE ACROSS BORDERS: REFUGEES & MIGRANTS; SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN THE COMMUNITY; REPORTING & PUNISHMENT OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE; FORCED MARRIAGE; DOMESTIC VIOLENCE; DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN RELOCATION & REFUGE; GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE; FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATIONS... WOMEN'S HEALTH: OVERVIEW; GOVERNMENT HEALTH SPENDING; POLICY, LAW & ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS RELATING TO WOMEN'S HEALTH; EDUCATION ABOUT WOMEN'S HEALTH ISSUES; ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE; REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH; MATERNAL HEALTH; WOMEN & HIV/AIDS 120 FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATIONS... EDUCATION FOR WOMEN & GIRLS: OVERVIEW; WOMEN & ILLITERACY; CURRENT SCHOOL ATTENDANCE & DROP OUT; BARRIERS TO EDUCATION; DISCRIMINATION IN GIRLS' SCHOOLING; INCENTIVES & OPPORTUNITIES FOR HIGHER EDUCATION; VOCATIONAL TRAINING; FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATIONS... THE ECONOMY & WOMEN'S LABOUR: OVERVIEW; THE ECONOMY; DECISION-MAKING & THE FAMILY INCOME; CULTURAL STEREOTYPES REGARDING WORK; RURAL WOMEN; FORCED LABOUR; EDUCATION & WORK OPPORTUNITIES; WOMEN IN THE PAID LABOUR FORCE; THE CIVIL SERVICE; THE INFORMAL SECTOR; THE PRIVATE SECTOR; LACK OF INFORMAL & PRIVATE SECTOR REGULATION; THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY; FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATIONS... MIGRATION & TRAFFICKING OF WOMEN & GIRLS: OVERVIEW; RESTRICTION ON WOMEN'S FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT; REGIONAL MIGRATION; TRAFFICKING; SEX WORK; DEPORTATION; ACTIONS TO COMBAT TRAFFICKING; FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATIONS... WOMEN & THE LAW: OVERVIEW; FOUNDATIONS OF THE LAW IN BURMA; LAWS RELATING SPECIFICALLY TO WOMEN; THE PRACTICE OF THE LAW; WOMEN & FAMILY LAW; FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATIONS... WOMEN'S PARTICIPATION IN POLITICS: OVERVIEW; RESTRICTIONS ON POLITICAL FREEDOM; INTERNATIONAL PARTICIPATION; NATIONAL PARTICIPATION; LOCAL PARTICIPATION; WOMEN'S PARTICIPATION IN OPPOSITION MOVEMENTS; CONSEQUENCES OF POLITICAL ACTIVITY; WOMEN'S POLITICAL ACTIVITIES IN EXILE; WOMEN IN BURMA'S POLITICAL FUTURE; FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATIONS... CONCLUSION... BIBLIOGRAPHY... ORGANISATIONAL PROFILE.
    Author/creator: Brenda Belak
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Images Asia
    Format/size: html (38K)
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: If they had hope, they would speak - The ongoing use of state sponsored sexual violence in Burma’s ethnic communities (English, Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ )
    Date of publication: 24 November 2014
    Description/subject: "The WLB’s new report, ‘If they had hope, they would speak’: The ongoing use of state-sponsored sexual violence in Burma’s ethnic communities’, highlights 118 incidences of gang-rape, rape, and attempted sexual assault that have been documented in Burma since 2010, in both ceasefire and non-ceasefire areas. This number is believed to be a fraction of the actual number of cases that have taken place. These abuses—which are widespread and systematic—must be investigated, and may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity under international criminal law..."
    Language: English, Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ
    Source/publisher: Women's League of Burma (WLB)
    Format/size: pdf (3.11MB-English; 2.94MB-Burmese)
    Alternate URLs: http://womenofburma.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/VAW_Iftheyhadhope_TheywouldSpeak_Burmese.pdf (full report, Burmese)
    http://womenofburma.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Statement_Iftheyhadhopetheywouldspeak_English.pdf (statement, English)
    http://womenofburma.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Statement_Iftheyhadhopetheywouldspeak_Burmese.pdf (statement, Burmese)
    Date of entry/update: 26 November 2014


    Title: In the Shadow of the Junta - CEDAW Shadow Report by women of Burma (English, Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
    Date of publication: 27 October 2008
    Description/subject: (Press Release, 27 October 2008): CEDAW shadow report reveals systemic gender discrimination in Burma... "Women’s organizations are today launching a shadow report revealing systemic gender discrimination in Burma, which will be used to review Burma at the 42nd Session of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Committee in Geneva on November 3, 2008. The Women’s League of Burma, together with other community-based organizations around Burma’s borders, has compiled extensive data in the report on how the regime’s failed policies have impacted women and girls, particularly in the areas of education, health, rural development, and violence against women. The findings strongly contradict the claims in the country report by the ruling military regime, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), that women in Burma “enjoy their rights even before they are born.” The report exposes how the regime is profiting from the sale of the country’s natural resources to build up the military and its GONGOs, and how systematic militarization and prioritization of military expenditure has reinforced the existing patriarchal system. It analyzes how the regime’s new constitution not only fails to effectively promote gender equality, but guarantees that the armed forces, an almost exclusively male institution, will control a quarter of seats in the government. The report states: “The face of public life in Burma is male, because the culture of Burma today is profoundly militarized. The military presence pervades every village, town and city, every branch and level of its administration, and every situation involving power and status.” The report exposes how national women’s organizations are merely for show. They are led by wives of SPDC commanders, who promote the regime’s policies and abuse their power at every level. The report reiterates that there can be no advancement of the lives of women and girls in Burma, and no protection and promotion of their rights while the military and its proxy organizations remain in power. “The regime’s road map to disciplined democracy is simply a road-map to further patriarchy,” said Nang Yain (General Secretary of the Women’s League of Burma) “We need genuine political reform to work for gender equality in Burma.”"
    Language: English, Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ
    Source/publisher: Women's League of Burma
    Format/size: html, pdf (4.1MB-reduced version; 2.7MB-Burmese)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs20/WLB-2008-In_the_shadow_of_the_Junta-bu-red.pdf
    http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs5/IntheShadow-Junta-CEDAW2008.pdf
    http://www.womenofburma.org
    Date of entry/update: 05 November 2008


    Title: IWRAW Country Reports: Myanmar
    Date of publication: 1999
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: International Women's Rights Action Watch
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 29 November 2010


    Title: Licence to Rape
    Date of publication: May 2002
    Description/subject: "The Burmese military regime's use of sexual violence in the ongoing war in Shan State...This report details 173 incidents of rape and other forms of sexual violence, involving 625 girls and women, committed by Burmese army troops in Shan State, mostly between 1996 and 2001... The report gives clear evidence that rape is officially condoned as a 'weapon of war' against the civilian populations in Shan State. There appears to be a concerted strategy by the Burmese army troops to rape Shan women as part of their anti-insurgency activities. The incidents detailed were committed by soldiers from 52 different battalions. 83% of the rapes were committed by officers, usually in front of their own troops. The rapes involved extreme brutality and often torture such as beating, mutilation and suffocation. 25% of the rapes resulted in death, in some incidences with bodies being deliberately displayed to local communities...Evidence in this report has revealed that the Burmese military regime is using rape on a systematic and widespread scale as a 'weapon of war' against the ethnic populations in Shan State. It has also illustrated that the increased militarization of the region has greatly increased the vulnerability of women and girls to rape. Examining the jurisprudence from the ICTY and ICTR on sexual violence as an international crime, illustrates there is a strong case that war crimes and crimes against humanity are being committed by the Burmese army in Shan State. The rape survivors have no recourse either to legal processes, or to any crisis support inside Shan State. Those fleeing to Thailand are also denied their right to protection and humanitarian assistance, and are liable to deportation at any time..."
    Language: English, Burmese, Deutsch, German, Japanese (summary)
    Source/publisher: Shan Human Rights Foundation, Shan Women's Action Network
    Format/size: PDF (1.8MB) and html (in sections)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.shanland.org/resources/bookspub/humanrights/LtoR/
    http://www.shanwomen.org/pdf/LTR_in_Burmese.pdf (Burmese version)
    http://www.friends-of-shan.de/swan-report/index.html (German version)
    http://www.burmainfo.org/swan/LTRsummary_jp.html (Japanese summary, HTML)
    http://www.burmainfo.org/swan/LTRsummary_jp.pdf (Japanese summary, PDF)
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: Lizenz zur Vergewaltigung- "Licence to rape"
    Date of publication: May 2002
    Description/subject: Deutsche Übersetzung des Artikels "Licence to rape" Die in Nordthailand im Exil ansässige Menschenrechtsorganisation "Shan Women's Action Network" (SWAN) erstellte im Mai 2002 einen umfassenden und detaillierten Bericht über die weitverbreitete Anwendung sexueller Gewalt gegen Frauen und Mädchen im Shan Staat (im Nordosten des burmesischen Staatsgebiets). Dieser Bericht trägt den schockierenden Titel: "License to Rape" - Lizenz zur Vergewaltigung Der Report belegt detailliert, dass das burmesische Militär in systematischer Weise Vergewaltigungen als Mittel der Kriegsführung gegen das Volk der Shan benutzt Inhalt Vergewaltigung als "Kriegswaffe" geduldet Militarisierung verursacht zunehmende Gefährdung durch Vergewaltigung Zwangsarbeit Die Überlebenden Sexuelle Gewalt als internationales Verbrechen
    Author/creator: Shan Herald Agency for News- Deutsche Übersetzung: Freunde der Shan
    Language: Deutsch, German
    Source/publisher: Freunde der Shan
    Format/size: HTML
    Alternate URLs: http://www.freunde-der-shan.de/?p=23
    Date of entry/update: 11 August 2006


    Title: Myanmar: Torture of Ethnic Minority Women
    Date of publication: 17 July 2001
    Description/subject: Torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of men, women and children, both in ethnic minority areas and in central Myanmar, has taken place for decades. This report examines the torture and ill-treatment of women from ethnic minorities in particular by the tatmadaw (armed forces). Ethnic minorities, who make up a third of the country's population, mainly live in seven states in the country . . . Amnesty International has documented serious human rights violations by the tatmadaw: extra-judicial executions, "disappearances," torture and cruel treatment of ethnic minority civilians, including the rape and sexual abuse of women. Torture in ethnic minority areas generally takes place in the context of forced labour and portering; forced relocation, and in detention at army camps, military intelligence centres, in people's homes, fields and villages. Many individuals have died as a result of torture or been killed after being tortured. Force and the threat of force is regularly used to compel members of ethnic minorities to comply with military directives - which may range from orders for villages to relocate; to provide unpaid labourers to military forces; to not harvesting their crops. Torture, including rape, is particularly widespread in those states where armed resistance continues and the army is engaged in counter-insurgency operations against armed groups. ... ADDITIONAL KEYWORDS: forced resettlement, forced relocation, forced movement, forced displacement, forced migration, forced to move, displaced
    Language: English,French
    Source/publisher: Amnesty International
    Format/size: html, pdf
    Alternate URLs: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA16/017/2001/en/ba1e04f0-d90b-11dd-ad8c-f3d4445c118e/asa1... (French)
    http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA16/017/2001/en
    Date of entry/update: 19 November 2010


    Title: No Safe Place: Burma's Army and the Rape of Ethnic Women
    Date of publication: April 2003
    Description/subject: "Burma's army is using rape as a weapon of war against women from Burma's numerous ethnic groups. Recent international attention on rape by the army has focused on abuses against Shan women. But following a research mission by Refugees International (RI) to the Thai-Burmese border, RI was able to confirm that rape is widespread, affecting women from numerous ethnic groups. In its report titled No Safe Place: Burma's Army and the Rape of Ethnic Women, RI documented 43 rapes among women from the Karen, Karenni, Mon, Tavoyan and Shan ethnicities. Seventy-five percent of women interviewed in RI focus groups reported knowing someone who had been raped. In nearly one third of the cases, rapes were committed by higher-ranking officers, and in only two cases were any punishments given, these extremely weak. These statistics indicate that there is a permissive attitude towards rape by those overseeing lower ranking soldiers. Although Burma's State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) has denied allegations that its military uses rape as a weapon of war, any admissions of rape have been attributed to rogue elements or the occasional unruly soldier. RI's report disputes this. "Rape is widespread and committed with impunity, both by officers and lower ranking soldiers. The culture of impunity contributes to an atmosphere in which rape is permissible," said Veronika Martin, advocate for RI. The report goes on to suggest that rape is not only widespread, but also systematic in nature. "Due to the lack of punishment to perpetrators, it leads to the conclusion that the system for protecting civilians is faulty, which in turn suggests the rape is systematic," explained Betsy Apple, a human rights lawyer who worked as a consultant for RI... This report is the first to look at the issue of rape across ethnic boundaries. It examines the SPDC's responsibility under international law and whether rape by Burma's army constitutes War Crimes or other gross violations. The report further emphasizes that rapes are not a deviation, committed by rebel soldiers; they are a pattern of brutal abuse designed to control, terrorize and harm ethnic nationality populations though their women..."
    Author/creator: Veronika Martin, Betsy Apple
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Refugees International
    Format/size: Word, pdf (894 K)
    Alternate URLs: http://repository.forcedmigration.org/show_metadata.jsp?pid=fmo:3162
    Date of entry/update: 25 November 2010


    Title: Ongoing Impunity: Continued Burma Army Atrocities Against the Kachin People
    Date of publication: June 2012
    Description/subject: Summary: "This report provides an update of atrocities committed by the Burma Army against civilians since it broke its 17-year ceasefire with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) one year ago. It highlights the particular suffering of women during the conflict, who have been forced to be porters, used as sex slaves, gang-raped and killed. Since the start of the conflict, there has been a huge deployment of Burmese troops into Kachin State and northern Shan State. Currently about 150 battalions are being used to crush the KIA, tripling the number of Burmese troops in the area. These troops have deliberately targeted civilians for abuse, causing villagers to flee in terror, leaving large swathes of countryside depopulated. There is strong evidence that Burmese troops have used rape systematically as a weapon of war. In the past year, KWAT has documented the rape or sexual assault of at least 43 women and girls, of whom 21 were killed. The rapes have been widespread, occurred in thirteen townships, by ten different battalions. Women have been openly kept as sex slaves by military officers, and gang-raped in church. There has been complete impunity for these crimes. When the husband of a Kachin woman abducted by the Burmese military tried to press charges, the Naypyidaw Supreme Court dismissed the case without even hearing his evidence. The continued abuse against civilians has swelled the numbers of internally displaced persons in Kachin State to over 75,000, most of whom are sheltering in makeshift camps along the China border, where little international aid has reached them. KWAT is calling on the international community to denounce the ongoing human rights abuses, and maintain pressure on the Burmese government to immediately implement a nationwide ceasefire, pull back Burma Army troops from ethnic areas and start dialogue with the United Nationalities Federal Council towards a process of genuine political reform."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Kachin Women's Association Thailand (KWAT)
    Format/size: pdf (1.4MB-OBL version; 8.2MB-original))
    Alternate URLs: http://www.kachinwomen.com/images/stories/publication/ongoing_iimpunity%20.pdf
    Date of entry/update: 11 June 2012


    Title: Only genuine peace in Burma can protect women from systematic rape
    Date of publication: 08 March 2003
    Description/subject: International Women's Day statement/open letter to Professor Pinheiro, Special Rapporteur on Myanmar of the Commission on Human Rights
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: ALTSEAN-Burma, Forum-Asia, APWLD, Friends Without Borders
    Format/size: pdf (135K)
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: Overcoming Shadows
    Date of publication: 2004
    Description/subject: "This book contains stories and articles written by women from Burma participating in a project to aid the process of building peace in their home country. In particular, the volume arose from a training held in February 2003, entitled “Building Inner Peace.” This was the second training of the project, with the first five week training held in March 2002. In the six months following the training, the participants returned to their communities to conduct workshops in different countries, including Bangladesh, China, India and Thailand. The training programs are the implementation of a decision made by Women’s League of Burma (WLB) at their first conference in December 2000 to prioritize the peace building process. The WLB is trying to contribute to genuine peace by broadening the peace process in Burma, beyond the cease-fire agreements between the armed opposition groups and the military regime. The goal of the WLB is to contribute to a genuine peace, where all are free, from all forms violence. There can only be genuine peace when women are free from domestic and sexual violence in the home and wider community. The second training took place as the training participants wanted to share their experiences and to deepen their expertise in peace building techniques and strengthen their understanding of gender issues. The organizers themselves believe that an understanding of the nature of violence against women and techniques to improve personal development will strengthen women, enabling them to better deal with some of the obstacles they encounter in their work for peace. This book is part of the breaking of the culture of silence around sexual abuse and discrimination in the different communities in Burma. It is not a chronicle of abuse. If anyone is interested in violations, then one only has to read the myriad of reports on human rights violations for a taste of the systematic violations of the rights of both women and men in Burma. Rather, this book reflects the attempts of 16 women to understand the particular forms of injustice women experience..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Women as Peacebuilders Team, Women's League of Burma
    Format/size: pdf (359K) 42 pages
    Date of entry/update: 07 November 2004


    Title: Report of the ILO Commission of Inquiry: customised version highlighting violence against women
    Date of publication: 02 July 1998
    Description/subject: Extracts from the report of the Commission of Inquiry appointed under article 26 of the Constitution of the International Labour Organization to examine the observance by Myanmar of the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29)
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: ILO Commission of Inquiry
    Format/size: html (383K)
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: Sacrifice: the Story of Child Prostitutes from Burma
    Description/subject: 2 minute 37 second extract from a film by Ellen Bruno. "Screened at Sundance, the film examines the social, cultural and economic forces at work in the trafficking of Burmese girls into prostitution in Thailand. The site also has linked resources - organisations, films, publications, calls to action etc.
    Author/creator: Ellen Bruno
    Language: English, Thai
    Source/publisher: .brunofilms
    Format/size: Adobe Flash
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: Same Impunity, Same Patterns ( Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ )
    Date of publication: 14 January 2014
    Description/subject: Executive Summary: "Almost a decade ago, the Women’s League of Burma (WLB) denounced systematic patterns of sexual crimes committed by the Burma Army against ethnic women and demanded an end to the prevailing system of impunity. Today WLB is renewing these calls. Three years after a nominally civilian government came to power; state-sponsored sexual violence continues to threaten the lives of women in Burma. Women of Burma endure a broad range of violations; this report focuses on sexual violence, as the most gendered crime. WLB and its member organizations have gathered documentation showing that over 100 women have been raped by the Burma Army since the elections of 2010. Due to restrictions on human rights documentation, WLB believes these are only a fraction of the actual abuses taking place. Most cases are linked to the military offensives in Kachin and Northern Shan States since 2011. The Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT) documented that 59 women have been victims of acts of sexual violence committed by Burmese soldiers. 1 The Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN) reports 30 cases of sexual violence involving 35 women and girls in the past three years. 2 The incidence of rape correlates with the timing of conflict. These crimes are more than random, isolated acts by rogue soldiers. Their widespread and systematic nature indicates a structural pattern: rape is still used as an instrument of war and oppression. 47 cases were brutal gang rapes, several victims were as young as 8 years old and 28 of the women were either killed or died of their injuries. Over 38 different battalions are implicated in these cases, while several battalions are involved across multiple cases and timeframes, and the incidents took place in at least 35 different townships. These rapes cannot be explained away as a human impulse gone astray. The use of sexual violence in conflict is a strategy and an act of warfare that has political and economic dimensions that go beyond individual cases. In Burma, counter- insurgency tactics designate civilians in ethnic areas as potential threats. Sexual violence is used as a tool by the Burmese military to demoralize and destroy ethnic communities. Army officers are not only passively complicit in these sexual crimes but often perpetrators themselves. Combined with blatant impunity, soldiers are given a “license to rape”, as SWAN highlighted in 2002. Several international treaties to which Burma is party, and other sources of international law applicable to Burma prohibit sexual violence; rape is also criminalized under Burma’s penal code. But neither international nor domestic laws are enforced effectively. The systematic and widespread 2 use of sexual violence by the Burma Army makes the abuses documented in this report potential war crimes and crimes against humanity under international law, requiring thorough independent investigation. It is high time for Burma’s government to take responsibility and live up to the expectations the recent changes have created, to restore the dignity that women of Burma deserve. This can only be achieved through truth and justice for the violence women endure. It necessitates not only an immediate end to the violence, but also a deep reform of Burma’s legal framework. Changing the 2008 Constitution, which gives the military the right to independently administer all its affairs, is the first step towards ensuring justice for the women of Burma. Judicial independence has to be guaranteed by the constitution, to allow for reform of the judicial system that will ensure its impartiality. The court-martial system, established by the Constitution to adjudicate all crimes committed by the military, has an unrestricted mandate and overly broad powers: it needs to be reformed to place the military under civilian judicial control. In both military and civilian jurisdictions, victims’ access to justice has to be ensured through appropriate complaint mechanisms. At the moment, the National Human Rights Commission does not have the mandate, capacity and willingness to address serious human rights violations in an independent and transparent manner. If the government is serious about its commitments to address violence against women, it should acknowledge ongoing abuses against ethnic women, sign the recent international declaration for prevention of sexual violence in conflict, and adopt laws specifically aimed at protecting women from violence. Recent proposals set out concrete requirements for effective legal protection for women. In addition, the government needs to deeply change its political approach to the peace process, in order to make it a meaningful way to end abuses. Achieving sustainable peace and putting an end to abuses against women will not happen without women’s representation in the political dialogue for peace. The fact that almost all the participants involved in the official peace process are male excludes critical perspectives on peace and conflict, and preserves structural gender inequality. 3 Moreover, it is crucial that the upcoming political dialogue addresses past human rights violations as well as the role of the army. This includes accepting that, in a free country, the military is subject to civilian authorities representing the genuine will of the people. Unless and until the military is placed under civilian control through constitutional amendments, we will not see an end to militarized sexual violence."
    Language: Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ
    Source/publisher: Women's League of Burma
    Format/size: pdf (2.4MB)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.womenofburma.org
    Date of entry/update: 15 January 2014


    Title: Same Impunity, Same Patterns (English)
    Date of publication: 14 January 2014
    Description/subject: Executive Summary: "Almost a decade ago, the Women’s League of Burma (WLB) denounced systematic patterns of sexual crimes committed by the Burma Army against ethnic women and demanded an end to the prevailing system of impunity. Today WLB is renewing these calls. Three years after a nominally civilian government came to power; state-sponsored sexual violence continues to threaten the lives of women in Burma. Women of Burma endure a broad range of violations; this report focuses on sexual violence, as the most gendered crime. WLB and its member organizations have gathered documentation showing that over 100 women have been raped by the Burma Army since the elections of 2010. Due to restrictions on human rights documentation, WLB believes these are only a fraction of the actual abuses taking place. Most cases are linked to the military offensives in Kachin and Northern Shan States since 2011. The Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT) documented that 59 women have been victims of acts of sexual violence committed by Burmese soldiers.1 The Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN) reports 30 cases of sexual violence involving 35 women and girls in the past three years.2 The incidence of rape correlates with the timing of conflict. These crimes are more than random, isolated acts by rogue soldiers. Their widespread and systematic nature indicates a structural pattern: rape is still used as an instrument of war and oppression. 47 cases were brutal gang rapes, several victims were as young as 8 years old and 28 of the women were either killed or died of their injuries. Over 38 different battalions are implicated in these cases, while several battalions are involved across multiple cases and timeframes, and the incidents took place in at least 35 different townships. These rapes cannot be explained away as a human impulse gone astray. The use of sexual violence in conflict is a strategy and an act of warfare that has political and economic dimensions that go beyond individual cases. In Burma, counterinsurgency tactics designate civilians in ethnic areas as potential threats. Sexual violence is used as a tool by the Burmese military to demoralize and destroy ethnic communities. Army officers are not only passively complicit in these sexual crimes but often perpetrators themselves. Combined with blatant impunity, soldiers are given a “license to rape”, as SWAN highlighted in 2002. Several international treaties to which Burma is party, and other sources of international law applicable to Burma prohibit sexual violence; rape is also criminalized under Burma’s penal code. But neither international nor domestic laws are enforced effectively. The systematic and widespread use of sexual violence by the Burma Army makes the abuses documented in this report potential war crimes and crimes against humanity under international law, requiring thorough independent investigation. It is high time for Burma’s government to take responsibility and live up to the expectations the recent changes have created, to restore the dignity that women of Burma deserve. This can only be achieved through truth and justice for the violence women endure. It necessitates not only an immediate end to the violence, but also a deep reform of Burma’s legal framework. Changing the 2008 Constitution, which gives the military the right to independently administer all its affairs, is the first step towards ensuring justice for the women of Burma. Judicial independence has to be guaranteed by the constitution, to allow for reform of the judicial system that will ensure its impartiality. The court-martial system, established by the Constitution to adjudicate all crimes committed by the military, has an unrestricted mandate and overly broad powers: it needs to be reformed to place the military under civilian judicial control. In both military and civilian jurisdictions, victims’ access to justice has to be ensured through appropriate complaint mechanisms. At the moment, the National Human Rights Commission does not have the mandate, capacity and willingness to address serious human rights violations in an independent and transparent manner. If the government is serious about its commitments to address violence against women, it should acknowledge ongoing abuses against ethnic women, sign the recent international declaration for prevention of sexual violence in conflict, and adopt laws specifically aimed at protecting women from violence. Recent proposals set out concrete requirements for effective legal protection for women. In addition, the government needs to deeply change its political approach to the peace process, in order to make it a meaningful way to end abuses. Achieving sustainable peace and putting an end to abuses against women will not happen without women’s representation in the political dialogue for peace. The fact that almost all the participants involved in the official peace process are male excludes critical perspectives on peace and conflict, and preserves structural gender inequality.3 Moreover, it is crucial that the upcoming political dialogue addresses past human rights violations as well as the role of the army. This includes accepting that, in a free country, the military is subject to civilian authorities representing the genuine will of the people. Unless and until the military is placed under civilian control through constitutional amendments, we will not see an end to militarized sexual violence."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Women's League of Burma
    Format/size: pdf (1.6K)
    Alternate URLs: http://womenofburma.org/
    Date of entry/update: 15 January 2014


    Title: School for Rape
    Date of publication: February 1998
    Description/subject: The Burmese Military and Sexual Violence. " This report seeks to make visible the structural origins of the rape of ethnic Burmese women, with particular attention paid to the institution that nurtures the rapists, the Burmese army. The report is based on primary research consisting of original interviews with defectors from the Burmese army, and villagers who lived in close proximity to the army, often because their villages were occupied by the army. By examining the military structures giving rise to prevalent rape, this report proposes not to absolve the soldier perpetrators of responsibilities for their crimes. Rather, we look for the root causes so we can advocate for institutional change as well as establish individual culpability and argue for individual punishment... Rape by the Burmese military, particularly against ethnic minority women, is an intrinsic component of the conflict in Burma. This report hypothesizes that the prevalence of rape in Burma is enabled by a number of larger cultural factors.
    Author/creator: Betsy Apple
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Earthrights International
    Format/size: pdf (283K) 82 pages
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: SLORC Rape in Thaton District
    Date of publication: 01 February 1993
    Description/subject: Nov-Dec 92. Karen F, C: rape of woman in bed with her children; looting; killing.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) Regional & Thematic Reports
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: SLORC Statement to Beijing Women's Conference
    Date of publication: 04 September 1995
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: SLORC's Use of Women Porters
    Date of publication: 16 February 1993
    Description/subject: "Late 92. Karen, men, women, children: Forced portering; killing; torture; forced labour (incl. mine-sweeping); use of human shields (porters forced to put on army uniforms and go ahead of the march); use of porters to carry ammunition to the soldiers during fighting; abandonment of wounded porters; gang rape; old women and children used as porters; inhuiman treatment (beating, deprivation of sleep, food, water and medicine); rape; looting; extortion; women and children forced to do mine-sweeping..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) Regional & Thematic Reports
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    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 SPDC’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 SPDC’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 Women’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 SPDC’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 their gender. 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 displaced. 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 grave atrocities."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: The Karen Women
    Format/size: pdf (673K-reduced versioin; 1.8MB-original)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.womenofburma.org/Statement&Release/state_of_terror_report.pdf
    Date of entry/update: 13 February 2007


    Title: Statement by Naw Htoo Paw
    Date of publication: 21 April 1992
    Description/subject: "Kyauk Kyi Township, Jan-Feb 92. F, Karen: Forced labour (building an army camp); rape; IT; worry about children left in the village..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) Regional & Thematic Reports
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: Statement of Naw Mya Thaung
    Date of publication: 24 January 1992
    Description/subject: Shwegung Township. Karen women, children: mass gang rape; (including of children and old women; killing; beating of a monk; looting; pillaging (destroying property and burning crops)in a Karen village, which was subsequently abandoned.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) Regional & Thematic Reports
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: SYSTEM OF IMPUNITY: Nationwide Patterns of Sexual Violence by the Military Regime’s Army and Authorities in Burma
    Date of publication: 04 September 2004
    Description/subject: Executive Summary: "This report 'System of Impunity' documents detailed accounts of sexual violence against women in all the ethnic states, as well as in central areas of Burma. These stories demonstrate patterns of continuing widespread, and systematic human rights violations being perpetrated by the regime’s armed forces and authorities. Women and girls from different ethnic groups report similar stories of rape, including gang rape; rape and murder; sexual slavery; and forced “marriage”. Significantly, almost all the incidents took place during the last two years, precisely while the regime has been repeatedly denying the prevalence of military rape in Burma. These stories bear witness to the fact that, despite the regime’s claims to the contrary, nothing has changed in Burma. Regardless of their location, be it in the civil war zones, the ceasefire areas or “non-conflict” areas, it is clear that no woman or girl is safe from rape and sexual torture under the current regime. Soldiers, captains, commanders and other SPDC officials continue to commit rape, gang rape and murder of women and children, with impunity. The documented stories demonstrate the systematic and structuralized nature of the violence, and the climate of impunity which not only enables the military to evade prosecution for rape and other crimes against civilian women, but also fosters a culture of continued and escalating violence. Even when crimes are reported no action is taken and moreover complainants are victimised, threatened or imprisoned. Women and children continue to be raped, used as sex slaves, tortured and murdered across the country by the regime’s armed forces and authorities. It is clear that the rapes and violence are not committed by rogue elements within the military but are central to the modus operandi of this regime. Structuralized and systematic human rights violations, including sexual violence, are an inevitable result of the regime’s policies of military expansion and consolidation of control by all possible means over a disenfranchised civilian population. This is why there can be no other solution to the problem of systematic sexual violence in Burma than an end to military rule. While countries in the region, members of ASEAN, and particularly Burma’s neighbours, appear willing to overlook human rights issues in their dealings with Burma, women of Burma wish to highlight that these policies of constructive engagement have grave repercussions for the citizens of Burma, particularly women and children. The political support which the regime is gaining from the region is emboldening it to continue its policies of militarization and accompanying sexual violence. It is directly placing the lives of women and girls in Burma at risk..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Women's League of Burma (WLB)
    Format/size: pdf (946K), Word (936K), 81 pages
    Alternate URLs: http://www.womenofburma.org/Report/SYSTEM_OF_IMPUNITY.doc
    http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs3/SYSTEM_OF_IMPUNITY.pdf
    http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs3/SYSTEM_OF_IMPUNITY-1.doc
    Date of entry/update: 04 September 2004


    Title: THE USE OF RAPE AS A WEAPON OF WAR IN BURMA’S ETHNIC AREAS (English, French)
    Date of publication: March 2012
    Description/subject: "With a population of over 50 million people, Burma is comprised of eight major ethnic nationalities: Burman, Shan, Karen, Karenni, Mon, Chin, Kachin and Arakan. Burma’s ethnic groups demand equality, autonomy and self-determination, but are systematically denied their rights by the regime. Instead, they are met with human rights violations: forced labor, forced relocation, religious persecution, arbitrary arrest and detention, destruction of thousands of ethnic villages, the driving out of hundreds of thousands of ethnic civilians to neighboring countries, and the forced internal displacement of an estimated one million people. Worse yet is that Burmese military soldiers are raping the ethnic women and girls with impunity. Women and girls from the Shan, Kachin, Chin, Karen, Mon, Karenni and Arakan states have long suffered under these state-sanctioned sex crimes. Rape incidents in ethnic areas are higher than anywhere else in Burma because they are part of the regime’s strategy to punish the armed resistance groups or used as a tool to repress various peoples in the larger agenda of ethnic cleansing. Although rape has been used by the regime to control the population for decades, it took years and the courage of many women to document these crimes. In recent years, the different women’s groups operating in Burma started documenting the systematic sexual violence against ethnic women by the State army soldiers. The total number of rape victims documented in these reports from Chin, Shan, Karen, Mon and Kachin states totals 1,859 girls and women, with some accounts going back as far as 1995. As a result of these reports, the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Burma has repeatedly raised concerns about the widespread use of sexual violence by the regime’s troops. However, the military regime and the “new”, nominally civilian government of Burma, has continued to deny this atrocity and the sexual violence continues. This report will look into the meaning of “rape as a weapon of war”, the way it is used by the Burmese military and the response that the Burmese government and the international community could provide to stop such practice..."
    Language: Français, French, English
    Source/publisher: Info Birmanie, Swedish Burma Committee
    Format/size: pdf (346K - English; 390K, French)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.info-birmanie.org/web/images/stories/Rapport_le_viol_comme_arme_de_guerre_Mars_2012.pdf
    Date of entry/update: 10 May 2012


    Title: Torture of Karen Women by SLORC
    Date of publication: 16 February 1993
    Description/subject: Latter half of 92. Karen F: torture; looting; forced labour; extortion; killing; pillaging (burning of houses); details of torture
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: United Call for Justice for Shan Women in Burma
    Date of publication: 26 August 2002
    Description/subject: "We heard, we read, we know. And we are outraged. We, from various international and regional organizations, come together to express our collective disgust and anger over the widespread and systematic use of rape as a weapon of war by the Burmese military regime. We ask the international community to take immediate action to end these practices and to protect the victims. The data that has been documented by the brave women of the Shan Womens Action Network (SWAN) and Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF), published as Licence to Rape, has brought to public attention what, up until now, has been whispered in fear throughout the communities that have been ravaged by these acts of terror..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Petition
    Format/size: pdf
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: Unsung Heroines: the Women of Myanmar
    Date of publication: 24 May 2000
    Description/subject: Women in Myanmar have been subjected to a wide range of human rights violations, including political imprisonment, torture and rape, forced labour, and forcible relocation, all at the hands of the military authorities. At the same time women have played an active role in the political and economic life of the country. It is the women who manage the family finances and work alongside their male relatives on family farms and in small businesses. Women have been at the forefront of the pro-democracy movement which began in 1988, many of whom were also students or female leaders within opposition political parties. Burman and non-Burman women. List of women in prison.ADDITIONAL KEYWORDS: forced resettlement, forced relocation, forced movement, forced displacement, forced migration, forced to move, displaced
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Amnesty International USA (ASA 16/04/00)
    Format/size: html
    Alternate URLs: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA16/004/2000/en
    http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?lang=e&id=EA7452D0C7C763F9802568E80064E12E
    http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA16/004/2000/en/e8ec29a6-df28-11dd-a3b7-b978e1cb2058/asa1... (Spanish)
    http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA16/004/2000/en/ed205dae-df28-11dd-a3b7-b978e1cb2058/asa1... (French)
    Date of entry/update: 25 November 2010


    Title: Untold Miseries - Wartime Abuses and Forced Displacement in Burma’s Kachin State
    Date of publication: 19 March 2012
    Description/subject: 'When Burmese President Thein Sein took office in March 2011, he said that over 60 years of armed conflict have put Burma’s ethnic populations through “the hell of untold miseries.” Just three months later, the Burmese armed forces resumed military operations against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), leading to serious abuses and a humanitarian crisis affecting tens of thousands of ethnic Kachin civilians. “Untold Miseries”: Wartime Abuses and Forced Displacement in Kachin State is based on over 100 interviews in Burma’s Kachin State and China’s Yunnan province. It details how the Burmese army has killed and tortured civilians, raped women, planted antipersonnel landmines, and used forced labor on the front lines, including children as young as 14-years-old. Soldiers have attacked villages, razed homes, and pillaged properties. Burmese authorities have failed to authorize a serious relief effort in KIA-controlled areas, where most of the 75,000 displaced men, women, and children have sought refuge. The KIA has also been responsible for serious abuses, including using child soldiers and antipersonnel landmines. Human Rights Watch calls on the Burmese government to support an independent international mechanism to investigate violations of international human rights and humanitarian law by all parties to Burma’s ethnic armed conflicts. The government should also provide United Nations and humanitarian agencies unhindered access to all internally displaced populations, and make a long-term commitment with humanitarian agencies to authorize relief to populations in need.'
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Human Rights Watch
    Format/size: pdf (1.7MB - OBL version; 2.25MB - original))
    Alternate URLs: http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/burma0312ForUpload_1.pdf
    Date of entry/update: 20 March 2012


    Title: Victims Or Players?
    Date of publication: February 2001
    Description/subject: "Are young Burmese girls working in the brothels of Thailand victims or players in the lucrative sex trade? Perhaps a look at two typical cases can shed light on this question..."
    Author/creator: Aung Zaw in Mae Sai, Chiang Mai & Min Zin in Ranong
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 9. No. 2
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN (Chapter from "Gathering Strength")
    Date of publication: January 2002
    Description/subject: OVERVIEW; WOMEN IN WAR; RELOCATION & DISPLACEMENT; SEXUAL VIOLENCE & ARMED CONFLICT; SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN AREAS OF MILITARY OCCUPATION; SEXUAL VIOLENCE ACROSS BORDERS: REFUGEES & MIGRANTS; SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN THE COMMUNITY; REPORTING & PUNISHMENT OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE; FORCED MARRIAGE; DOMESTIC VIOLENCE; DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN RELOCATION & REFUGE; GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE; FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATIONS.
    Author/creator: Brenda Belak
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Images Asia
    Format/size: PDF (745K)
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: Voices for Change: Domestic Violence and Gender Discrimination in the Palaung Area (Burmese)
    Date of publication: 25 November 2011
    Description/subject: Executive Summary: "This report documents how women in the Palaung area are affected by domestic violence and gender discrimination. Survey results collected by PWO show that almost all respondents had experienced or seen physical violence within families in their community, and that physical violence is occurring with alarming frequency, in many cases on an almost daily basis. PWO’s research shows that gender discrimination is widespread in the Palaung area, and that many people’s attitudes conform to traditional gender stereotypes which assume that women must fulfil the role of homemaker and accept sole responsibility for childcare duties. Since the 2010 election, Burma’s military-backed regime has failed to take any effective action to promote women’s rights and gender equality, or to uphold its commitments to CEDAW. Burma remains one of only two ASEAN countries lacking a specific law criminalising domestic violence, and PWO’s research has found that there are no government-led projects to raise awareness of domestic violence and women’s rights in the rural areas of northern Shan State, where the vast majority of the Palaung population live. The ‘new’ regime has yet to address the economic and social crises fuelling domestic violence in the Palaung area. The economic crisis afflicting the Palaung people as a direct result of the state’s monopoly of the tea industry, as well as the increase in opium cultivation and addiction in the Palaung area since the 2010 election have directly contributed to the problem of domestic violence, as males resort to physical violence as a means of expressing their anger and frustration with their situation. More than five decades of civil war have bred a culture of male domination, fear, and violence in Burma. Palaung people, especially males, have been socialised into this culture, and see violence as a necessary means of asserting their authority over their wives, in the same way as the state uses violence to assert its authority over Burma’s ethnic nationalities. The regime appears to have no intention of bringing an end to Burma’s culture of violence, and continues to wage war against ethnic rebels in northern Shan State. 5 Domestic violence has a devastating impact on individuals, families and communities. Apart from the obvious physical impact of domestic violence, women also suffer psychologically. Domestic violence threatens the stability of the family unit, often has a negative impact on children’s education, and acts as an obstacle to community development. Burma’s military-backed regime needs to recognise domestic violence and gender discrimination as obstacles to achieving a peaceful society in Burma, and to embark upon a program of genuine political reform which addresses the social and economic factors fuelling domestic violence and gender discrimination."
    Language: Burmese
    Source/publisher: Palaung Women's Organization (PWO)
    Format/size: pdf (1.91MB)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.palaungwomen.com
    Date of entry/update: 25 January 2012


    Title: Voices for Change: Domestic Violence and Gender Discrimination in the Palaung Area (English)
    Date of publication: 25 November 2011
    Description/subject: Executive Summary: "This report documents how women in the Palaung area are affected by domestic violence and gender discrimination. Survey results collected by PWO show that almost all respondents had experienced or seen physical violence within families in their community, and that physical violence is occurring with alarming frequency, in many cases on an almost daily basis. PWO’s research shows that gender discrimination is widespread in the Palaung area, and that many people’s attitudes conform to traditional gender stereotypes which assume that women must fulfi l the role of homemaker and accept sole responsibility for childcare duties. Since the 2010 election, Burma’s military-backed regime has failed to take any effective action to promote women’s rights and gender equality, or to uphold its commitments to CEDAW. Burma remains one of only two ASEAN countries lacking a specifi c law criminalising domestic violence, and PWO’s’ research has found that there are no government-led projects to raise awareness of domestic violence and women’s rights in the rural areas of northern Shan State, where the vast majority of the Palaung population live. The ‘new’ regime has yet to address the economic and social crises fuelling domestic violence in the Palaung area. The economic crisis affl icting the Palaung people as a direct result of the state’s monopoly of the tea industry, as well as the increase in opium cultivation and addiction in the Palaung area since the 2010 election have directly contributed to the problem of domestic violence, as males resort to physical violence as a means of expressing their anger and frustration with their situation. More than fi ve decades of civil war have bred a culture of male domination, fear, and violence in Burma. Palaung people, especially males, have been socialised into this culture, and see violence as a necessary means of asserting their authority over their wives, in the same way as the state uses violence to assert its authority over Burma’s ethnic nationalities. The regime appears to have no intention of bringing an end to Burma’s culture of violence, and continues to wage war against ethnic rebels in northern Shan State. 5 Domestic violence has a devastating impact on individuals, families and communities. Apart from the obvious physical impact of domestic violence, women also suffer psychologically. Domestic violence threatens the stability of the family unit, often has a negative impact on children’s education, and acts as an obstacle to community development. Burma’s military-backed regime needs to recognise domestic violence and gender discrimination as obstacles to achieving a peaceful society in Burma, and to embark upon a program of genuine political reform which addresses the social and economic factors fuelling domestic violence and gender discrimination."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Palaung Women's Organisation
    Format/size: pdf (1.5MB)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.palaungwomen.com
    Date of entry/update: 25 January 2012


    Title: Women as targets
    Date of publication: 08 August 2002
    Description/subject: "Eleven women and girls from Shan State recently slipped into Thailand with grim accounts of rape, robbery and murder by Burmese soldiers Story by VASANA CHINVARAKORN Picture by SUBIN KHUENKAEW In the eyes of the Burmese State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), the stories of 11 Shan girls and women who recently slipped through the Thai border are fabrications. The women, ranging in age from 13 to 60-plus, come from different parts of Shan State. They are now living in a sheltered home in the North. They say they have come to Thailand to escape abuse, torture and rape by Burmese troops. Huddled together, the group reminds one of the faceless choruses of a Greek tragedy, the ones who are always in the back in the shadows, emerging only to sing plaintive, sad and forlorn songs before they slip back into dark anonymity. The story they are telling today is quite similar to tales that have been coming across the border for years _ one day, or night, Burmese soldiers show up at a village, clean the houses out of anything of value, rob the villagers of their cattle and then cast their eyes on the women or girls who haven't managed to flee in time. Next follows hours, sometimes days, even months, of individual and gang rape. The ``lucky'' women get out alive. Many don't..."
    Author/creator: Vasana Chinvarakorn
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Shanland
    Format/size: html (12K)
    Date of entry/update: 25 November 2010


    Title: Women Political Prisoners in Burma
    Date of publication: 07 October 2004
    Description/subject: " Two organizations, based on the Thai-Burma border, have released an English version of a report on women political prisoners in Burma. The Burmese Women's Union (BWU) and the AAPP have worked jointly on the English version of the report and released the Burmese version in February 2004. At least 1,425 political prisoners are behind bars because of their connections with democratic movements in Burma. Nearly one hundred of these are women, including the Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. The 200 page report, entitled "Women Political Prisoners in Burma," expresses the history of women in politics. The report covers common experiences of women in prisons and military intelligence detention centers, food and health conditions in prisons, and torture and human rights violations by prison authorities. The report also focuses upon conditions of prisoners after release, the SPDC’s Women’s Affair Committee, and movements of the SPDC relating to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). There are testimonies and data regarding 19 former women detainees, and photographs of current and former women political prisoners. The AAPP and the BWU conclude by making some suggestions and demands for change to the SPDC. Tate Naing, secretary of the AAPP, releasing the report today said, "We want the people in Burma and international organizations to know that several women are in Burmese prisons because of their activities in the democracy movement. The report mentions not only their experiences, but also how they bravely struggled through the many difficulties in the prisons." ... - Forward; - Introduction; - History of Women in Politics; - Arrest and Imprisonment; - Sexual Harassment; - Judgment under the Military Government; - Torture and Ill Treatment; - Health; - Food; - Reproductive Health; - Reading in Prison; - Family Visits; - Survival; - Conditions after Release; - Terrorist Attack on May 30, 2003; - The Regime’s Women’s Affairs Committee; - The Regime Neglects the Agreements of CEDAW and Other Conventions on Women; - Demands to the Military Government in Burma; - Endnotes... - Appendices: (1) Aye Aye Khaing; (2) Aye Aye Moe; (3) Aye Aye Thin; (4) Aye Aye Win (Daw); (5) Hla Hla Htwe; (6) Kaythi Aye; (7) Khin Mar Kyi (Dr); (8) Khin San Nwe (Daw); (9) Kyu Kyu Mar (Daw); (10) Myat Mo Mo Tun; (11) Myat Sapal Moe; (12) San San (Daw); (13) San San Nwe (Tharawaddy); (14) Than Kywe (Daw); (15) Thi Thi Aung; (16) Thida Aye; (17) Yee Yee Htun; (18) Yin Yin May (Daw); (19) Yu Yu Hlaing.
    Language: English, Burmese
    Source/publisher: Burmese Women's Union (BWU), Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) - AAPP
    Format/size: html
    Alternate URLs: http://www.aappb.net/joint_report.html
    Date of entry/update: 07 October 2004


    Title: Women's Report Card on Burma 2001
    Date of publication: June 2001
    Description/subject: WOMEN AND POLITICS: The Democracy Movement, "Dialogue", Women's Organisations, Inside Burma, Outside Burma; WOMEN, POVERTY & THE ECONOMY: Living in Poverty; SPDC and Poverty; WOMEN AND EDUCATION: Access to Basic Education, Education and Politics; "Relevant History", The Re-Opening of Universities; WOMEN AND HEALTH: Access to basic health standards and facilities, Demographics; HIV/AIDS: Women, Children & HIV, HIV/AIDS Prevention, Family Planning, Refugees & Migrant Workers; VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Rape, Women outside Burma, Commercial Sex Workers (CSW); RESPONSIBILITY OF THE SPDC: BIBLIOGRAPHY; WHAT YOU CAN DO; CONTACTS: Women of Burma Groups, Groups Working with Women of Burma, Burma on the Internet; RESOURCES FROM ALTSEAN-BURMA.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)
    Format/size: HTML (286K) 36 pages; Word (158K)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/WRC2001.doc
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


  • Discrimination against women: reports of violations in Shan State

    Websites/Multiple Documents

    Title: Shan Women's Action Network (SWAN)
    Description/subject: "SWAN is a founding member of the Women's League of Burma (WLB), an umbrella women's organization comprising eleven women's groups from Burma. SWAN, through its affiliation with other women's organizations, establishes common platforms to promote the role of women from Burma in the struggle for democracy and human rights in their country. SWAN's objectives: * Promoting women's rights and the rights of children; * Opposing exploitation of and violence against women and children; * Working together for peace and freedom in our society; * Empowering women for a better life; * Raising awareness to preserve natural resources and the environment. Background of SWAN SWAN was set up on 28 March 1999 by a group of Shan women active in Thailand and along the Thai- Burma border seeking to address the needs of Shan women. In fact, before the formation of SWAN, Shan women in various locations had already been active in a number of projects to assist women. Even though informal networks were in place, it was felt that more could be achieved, in addressing both practical and strategic needs of Shan women, if a more concrete network among the various women could be formed. This Shan women's network would also be able to coordinate with other women's organizations from Burma, as well as GOs and NGOs working with women locally, nationally and internationally. General Background The Shan State is over 64,000 square kilometers in size and forms the eastern part of the Union of Burma bordering China, Laos and Thailand. The people of the Shan State, like in other areas of Burma, suffer from abuse inflicted by the Burmese military regime, which according to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch Asia is amongst the worst in the world. The abuse inflicted on the Shan people by the Burmese military has forced many people to flee for their lives to Thailand. The Thai government, however, does not recognize the Shan people as refugees and unlike the Karen and Karenni refugees, has not allowed them to set up refugees camps along the Thai-Burmese border. Consequently the Shans are forced to enter Thailand illegally, which leaves them extremely vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Despite this, Shan people are still coming to take refuge in Thailand. The estimated number of Shans working illegally in Thailand is at least 300,000. Among them are many girls and young women who have been trafficked into Thai brothels, where they face a wide range of abuse including sexual and other physical violence, debt bondage, exposure to HIV/AIDS, forced labor without payment and illegal confinement..." Reports, programmes etc.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Shan Women's Action Network (SWAN)
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: April 2003


    Individual Documents

    Title: Poisoned Flowers: The Impacts of Spiraling Drug Addiction on Palaung Women in Burma,
    Date of publication: 09 June 2006
    Description/subject: "'Poisoned Flowers: The Impacts of Spiraling Drug Addiction on Palaung Women in Burma', based on interviews with eighty-eight wives and mothers of drug addicts, shows how women in Palaung areas have become increasingly vulnerable due to the rising addiction rates. Already living in dire poverty, with little access to education or health care, wives of addicts must struggle single-handedly to support as many as ten children. Addicted husbands not only stop providing for their families, but also sell off property and possessions, commit theft, and subject their wives and children to repeated verbal and physical abuse. The report details cases of women losing eight out of eleven children to disease and of daughters being trafficked by their addicted father. The increased addiction rates have resulted from the regime allowing drug lords to expand production into Palaung areas in recent years, in exchange for policing against resistance activity and sharing drug profits. The collapse of markets for tea and other crops has driven more and more farmers to turn to opium growing or to work as labourers in opium fields, where wages are frequently paid in opium. The report throws into question claims by the regime and the UNODC of a dramatic reduction of opium production in Burma during the past decade, and calls on donor countries and UN agencies supporting drug eradication programs in Burma to push for genuine political reform..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Palaung Women's Organization
    Format/size: pdf (632K), Word (360K)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.womenofburma.org/Report/PoisonedFlowers.pdf
    http://www.womenofburma.org/Report/PoisonedFlowers.doc
    Date of entry/update: 08 June 2006


  • Discrimination/violence against women: reports of violations in Arakan (Rakhine) State

    Individual Documents

    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. Girls’ 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
    Language: English
    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

    Individual Documents

    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..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: The Women's League of Chinland (WLC)
    Format/size: pdf (770K)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.chinwomen.org/images/publications/documents/UnsafeState.pdf
    http://www.chinwomen.org/publications.html
    Date of entry/update: 29 November 2010


  • Discrimination/violence against women: reports of violations in Kachin State

    Individual Documents

    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..."
    Language: English
    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 women¹s group. ³Eastward Bound² by the Kachin Women¹s 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 to farmers. The report highlights how the Burmese regime¹s 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. ³Anti-trafficking laws are meaningless under a regime that systematically violates people¹s rights, and whose policies are driving citizens to migrate,² 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 regime¹s heavy-handed attempts to control migration. ³International agencies must look holistically at the trafficking problem, and not be complicit in any efforts by the regime to further abuse people¹s rights under the guise of preventing trafficking² said KWAT spokesperson Shirley Seng. KWAT first exposed the trafficking of Kachin women on the China-Burma border in their 2005 report ³Driven Away.² The new report can be viewed at http://www.womenofburma.org For hard copies of the report, please contact: kwat@loxinfo.co.th 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
    Language: English
    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:..."
    Language: English
    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
    http://www.kachinwomen.com/images/stories/pressrelease/pushed_chinese.pdf
    http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs15/KWAT-pushed_to_the_brink-PR-bu-ocr.pdf
    http://www.kachinwomen.com/advocacy/press-release.html
    http://www.kachinwomen.com/images/stories/publication/pushed_to_the_brink.pdf
    Date of entry/update: 05 June 2013


  • Discrimination/violence against women: reports of violations in Karen (Kayin) State

    Individual Documents

    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."
    Language: English
    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)
    http://www.khrg.org/khrg2011/khrg11f2.html
    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..."
    Language: English
    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."
    Language: English
    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 Regime’s use of Rape as a Strategy of War in Karen State
    Date of publication: 02 April 2004
    Description/subject: "This report, “Shattering Silences” 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 “ceasefire talks” 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 women’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 women’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..."
    Language: English
    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
    http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/Shattering_Silences.doc
    http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/Shattering_Silences.pdf
    http://www.womenofburma.org/Report/Shattering_Silences.pdf
    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 SPDC’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 SPDC’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 Women’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 SPDC’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 their gender. 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 displaced. 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 grave atrocities."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: The Karen Women
    Format/size: pdf (673K-reduced versioin; 1.8MB-original)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.womenofburma.org/Statement&Release/state_of_terror_report.pdf
    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 Women’s Organisation – Shattering Silences in 2004 and State of Terror in 20071 – document the wide range of human rights abuses against Burmese women and girls.
    Language: English, Burmese
    Source/publisher: The Karen Women’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."
    Language: English
    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
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) Regional & Thematic Reports
    Format/size: html
    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 cultural shift. The abuses experienced or witnessed by the women chiefs include: • Crucifixion • People burnt alive • Rape, including gang rape • Many forms of torture, including beatings and “water torture” • People buried up to their heads in earth and beaten to death • Arbitrary executions • Beheadings • 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 Burma’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, “taxes” and intelligence, but also testify to their systematic use of terror tactics to subjugate villagers and prevent them from cooperating with the Karen resistance. 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 “comfort women” for the Burma Army troops. The women chiefs’ 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 women’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 orders. 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 “married to the SPDC” 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 Burma’s military dictatorship, but at the forefront of the struggle for gender equality in Burma..."
    Language: English
    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