Burma’s military and police have failed to properly investigate and seek to prosecute two Burmese Army soldiers who raped an ethnic Ta’ang woman on 10th May 2019.
According to local sources, two Burmese Army soldiers wearing plain clothes entered in Namhsan, northern Shan State at 1.30pm. The soldiers are believed to be from Infantry Division 101, Light Infantry Battalion 258.
The soldiers approached a woman working on the farm, first asking her if she knew where Ta’ang soldiers were in the area. The two soldiers then each raped her while the other pointed his gun at her.
The woman immediately reported the rape to the local village head, who in turn reported it to the local Burmese Army commander.
The case was also reported to the police on 14th May and the police opened an investigation. Eyewitnesses who saw the soldiers on the tea farm have made statements.
The local Burmese Army commander has stated that they will take action, but only if the woman becomes pregnant as a result of the rape.
Almost four weeks later, no arrests have been made despite detailed descriptions of the soldiers involved. Neither the military or police appear to be making any serious effort to investigate the case.
Local people are demanding that the two soldiers be arrested and that the military hand them over to the local civilian court for trial, rather than them being tried in secret military courts. They also emphasise that responsibility and action must be taken regardless of whether the survivor is pregnant; rape is always a crime.
“Once again Burmese Army soldiers have raped an ethnic woman and once again those soldiers are going unpunished,” said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “The military and police have descriptions of these soldiers and know where these soldiers were and the time they were there. It is hard to believe they could not identify them if they tried. It seems only a public outcry will shame the military and police into acting.”
Note to editors:
Infantry Division 101 has, as with the rest of the Burmese military, violated international law with impunity for decades. In a report to the United Nations General Assembly on 4th October 1999, the Special Rapportuer on the situation of human rights in Myanmar documented how soldiers from Infantry Division 101 had tortured and then massacred residents of an ethnic Karen village, including a baby and children, and in a separate incident gang-raped women including a 9 year old girl, before killing them, including shooting a pregnant woman in the abdomen.