September 12, 2013

More than 2,000 letters and campaign postcards from supporters of Burma Campaign UK are delivered today by Valerie Vaz MP to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, with the call for action to end rape and sexual violence against women in Burma.

Burma Campaign UK today called on the British government to highlight Burma when Foreign Secretary William Hague travels to New York for a major meeting at the UN to discuss sexual violence in conflict on 24 September.

Supporters of Burma Campaign UK are deeply concerned about the on-going human rights abuses, including rape and sexual violence against women in ethnic minority areas, where the Burmese Army has been using rape as a weapon of war for decades.

Since the Burmese Army broke ceasefires two years ago in Kachin and Northern Shan States, Burma Campaign UK has received a significant increase in reports of the use of rape and other forms of sexual violence against women by the government’s troops. Many abuses have been documented by the UN and other international human rights organisations.

Women and girls have been forced at gun point to guide and porter for the Burmese Army’s troops and are subjected to sexual violence. There is almost no support for these women and it is very difficult for them to speak out as many face threats and harassment by Burmese Army soldiers and dare not speak out about the abuses.

In one of the worst cases, on 1 May 2012, Burmese Army soldiers found Ngwa Mi, a grandmother with 12 children, sheltering alone in a church in Kachin State. About ten troops beat her with rifle butts, stabbed her with knives, stripped her naked and gang-raped her over a period of three days in the church. Soldiers continue to act with impunity.

“The use of rape and sexual violence against women in any circumstances is simply unacceptable. The on-going practice of sexual violence by the Burmese armed forces is alarming and should not be ignored by the British government. William Hague should ensure that Burma is fully included in the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative,” said Valerie Vaz MP, who delivered the letters and campaign postcards on behalf of supporters of Burma Campaign UK.

Note to editor: On Tuesday 24 September, there will be a Launch of a Declaration of commitment to end sexual violence in conflict at the UN, New York, by The Rt Hon William Hague, UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs & Zainab Hawa Bangura, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Mary Hla, Moe Bu, Anna Roberts, Valerie Vaz MP and Zoya Phan deliver more than 2,000 letters and campaign postcards from supporters of Burma Campaign UK to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to call for action to end rape and sexual violence against women in Burma.


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