New Report: Army Uses Systematic Sexual Violence to Combat Insurgents
Thursday, February 6, 2014 9:10 AM

The Women’s League of Burma (WLB) has issued a report documenting the army’s systematic use of sexual violence against women and girls during recent military offensives against insurgent groups in Burma (also known as Myanmar). The report argues that the military’s counterinsurgency tactics have institutionalized the use of sexual violence against civilians to subdue minority ethnic communities in conflict with the government. The country is home to several distinct minority ethnic groups, including the Karen and Shan, many of whom have engaged in insurgencies against the government and the majority Burman ethnic group for decades to secure rights of self-determination and to protect their languages, cultures, customs and natural resource claims. 
WLB documented over 100 rapes since late 2010 and stated that there have likely been hundreds more unreported rapes. Of the reported rape cases, several victims were as young as 8 years old, and 28 of the women were either killed or died of their injuries.
The report cites several conditions that have allowed systematic sexual abuse by the army to continue, including: ineffective enforcement of domestic and international laws; a lack of appropriate complaint mechanisms; and the male-dominated official peace process. WLB recommends that the government, insurgent groups and the international community take several steps in order to end the systematic abuse of women, including adoption of laws protecting women from violence and the inclusion of more women in peace negotiations.
Compiled fromSame Impunity, Same Patterns: Sexual abuses by the Burma Army will not stop until there is a genuine civilian government, Women’s League of Burma (January 2014); Report: Burma Army Uses Rape as Weapon of War, Feminist Majority Foundation (January 2014).