Media release from Shan Human Rights Foundation and Shan Women’s Action Network
The Burma Army is clearly authorizing rape as a terror tactic in its offensive against the Shan State Army-North (SSA-N), according to information documented by the Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN) and the Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF).
On July 5, 2011, a Burma Army patrol from Light Infantry Battalion 513 entered the village of “Wan Loi” in Ke See township, and within hours had looted property throughout the village and raped four women and girls in separate incidents: Nang Mon, age 12, Nang Jarm, age 50, Nang Lord, age 30 and Nang Poeng, age 35 (not their real names).
12-year-old schoolgirl Nang Mon was raped in her home in front of her mother, who was struck when she tried to protect her daughter. Nearby villagers heard the girl’s screams but did not dare intervene. 50-year-old widow Nang Jarm was also raped in her house.
Nang Lord, who was 9 months pregnant, was pulled roughly to the ground and raped, while Nang Poeng was caught outside the village, beaten, stripped naked and raped in a farm hut. She was found by other villagers running naked in the jungle.
“Wan Loi” lies 15 miles from the SSA-N headquarters of Wan Hai, which has been under fierce assault by over 3,000 Burma Army troops since March 13, when the regime broke the 22-year ceasefire. The troops have been committing widespread atrocities against local villagers, including sexual violence, causing thousands to flee their homes.
“Burma Army troops are being given free rein to rape children, the pregnant and the elderly,” said SWAN coordinator Hseng Moon. “We strongly condemn these war crimes.”
This latest incident comes only weeks after the Kachin Women’s Association Thailand denounced the rape of 18 women and girls during renewed fighting last month in Kachin State. The breaking of ceasefire agreements with Kachin and Shan resistance groups has caused fighting to spread through 12 townships in northern Shan State.
Northern Shan State is of crucial strategic importance for Burma’s military rulers, who are seeking to secure the area for major Chinese investments, including hydropower dams and trans-national gas and oil pipelines.
“Foreign governments dealing with Burma should not be silent about these atrocities. ‘Business as usual’ means ongoing rape in our communities,” said Hseng Moon.
Detailed lists of human rights abuses committed by the Burma Army during the offensive against the SSA-N, and photos of impacted communities are available on http://www.shanhumanrights.org and http://www.shanwomen.org