The British government is spending more than £60m a year on aid to Burma, but not all that aid is reaching the people who need it, and a lot is going on programmes which help the military-backed government. Here are nine ways to make improvements.
Yesterday, there was a debate in the British Parliament on the persecution of the Rohingya and other minorities in Burma.
Speaking in the debate, David Ward MP said, “Burma Campaign UK has produced eight steps that it believes the British Government could take to improve human rights in Burma. First, the Government should put human rights—not trade or political reform, but human rights—at the top of the agenda, elevating human rights as the Government’s policy priority in Burma. Secondly, the Government should support an international investigation into human rights violations against the Rohingya. We hear about various internal investigations, but an international investigation is required into what the UN special rapporteur believes to be crimes against humanity.”
Article in Myanmar Times this week quotes Burma Campaign UK:
“Activists and human rights groups are urging Britain to maintain pressure on the government to combat sexual violence in conflict, as focus shifts to implementation of a plan to address the issue after Myanmar endorsed a UN declaration earlier this month.
“If sexual violence by the Burmese army continues unabated despite the government signing the declaration, it will be a blow not just to the credibility of the declaration, but also to the British government’s policy of soft diplomacy,” Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, told The Myanmar Times last week.”
At the Unison conference in Brighton today, where our campaign to highlight the British government’s rose-tinted view on Burma is getting a lot of support!
A delegation of women from Burma spoke at a meeting in the British Parliament today. They spoke about the ongoing use of rape and sexual violence by the Burmese Army, as well as the situation in Kachin State highlighting the ongoing military offensive and humanitarian assistance for IDPs, Karen and Shan State, refugees return, the peace process and new laws restricting freedom of autonomy to choose the religion and women’s rights.
The delegates from Burma include:
Tin Tin Nyo from Women’s League of Burma (WLB)/BWU
Naw Susanna Hla Hla Soe – Karen Women Empowerment Group
Wahku Shee – WLB/ Karen Women Organization
Moon Nay Li – WLB/ Kachin Women’s Association Thailand – KWAT
May Sabe Phyu – Kachin Peace Network
Nang Hseng Moon – WLB/ Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN)
A delegation of women from Burma have joined the Global Summit To End Sexual Violence In Conflict being held in London this week, hosted by British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Angelina Jolie.
Moon Nay Li, coordinator at the Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT), writes in Mizzima: “If the international community is serious about ending sexual violence, it will have to be willing to change its engagement with Myanmar. It will have to issue a clear ultimatum to the Myanmar government: that either it establishes an independent investigation, with international expertise, into sexual violence in Myanmar, or the UN will conduct its own investigation.”
Moon Nay Li, K’Nyaw Paw, Zoya Phan, Tin Tin Nyo and Wakhu Shee at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict.
Article in the Democratic Voice of Burma today as the British government hosts an international summit on rape in conflict, aiming to “shatter the culture of impunity for sexual violence in conflict”. A delegation of seven women representing Burmese civil society groups are attending the summit.
“Rape and sexual violence by the Burmese Army has continued unabated in conflict zones in Burma,” BCUK director Mark Farmaner told DVB on Tuesday. “In fact, since Thein Sein became president, Burma Campaign UK has received an increased number of reports of rape by the Burmese Army.”
“If the Burmese government is serious about ending sexual violence in conflict, it should set a timeline for the implementation of practical steps, including ending impunity and holding perpetrators of sexual violence to account; supporting an independent investigation involving international expertise; amending the 2008 Constitution that condones sexual violence by guaranteeing impunity for past sexual crimes; ensuring full women’s participation in peace negotiations as well as in political, social and economic development; repealing repressive laws against women, including making rape in marriage illegal; and allowing international support for civil society organisations, including women’s organisations such as the Women’s League of Burma, for their work in documenting cases of rape and providing support for victims of sexual violence.”
Article by Zoya Phan, Campaigns Manager at Burma Campaign UK, in the Huffington Post.
Read the full article here.