This briefing examines the British government’s controversial military training to the Burmese Army.
The training is taking place despite the Burmese Army still committing serious human rights abuses which violate international law. Crimes committed by the Burmese Army since the reform process began include rape and gang rape of ethnic women, including children, deliberate targeting of civilians, arbitrary execution, arbitrary detention, torture, mutilations, looting, bombing civilian areas, blocking humanitarian assistance, destruction of property, and extortion. Many of these abuses could be classified as war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The British government is spending £87,850 on military training for the Burmese Army without setting any preconditions on their improving human rights and supporting democratic reform, even on the issue of ending the Burmese Army’s use of rape as a weapon of war. This appears to contravene the declaration on ending sexual violence in conflict which the British government has spearheaded. The Burmese Army does not even admit that it commits human rights abuses.