Burma: Women’s Rights Groups Report Use of Rape as Weapon of War
Friday, December 16, 2011 11:10 AM

The Women’s League of Burma (WLB) reports that rape is being used as a deliberate strategy against minority populations, and is not merely a by-product of the war. The Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand (KWAT), a member of the Women’s League, investigates reports and interviews victims. It has issued reports to the Burmese government, China, and the international community. Shirley Seng, founder of KWAT, explained that most rape narratives support the claim that the Burmese military is using rape deliberately. “[T]he civilians who are attacked are told this [that rape is used as a weapon] by the soldiers attacking them.”

The current conflict involves the Burmese military and the Kachin Independence Army, but the ethnic groups the Shan, the Karen, and the Rohingyas also face persecution by the Burmese government. In addition to the targeted rapes, there have been reports of deliberate displacement. Over 30,000 civilians were displaced in fighting in March and June alone. Both the WLB and the United Nations Human Rights rapporteur for Burma have called for an independent investigation into human rights abuses, including sexual violence against minority members.

Compiled from: Nallu, Preethi, Rape Used a Military Weapon, IPS: Inter Press Service News Agency (10 December 2011).