British Foreign Secretary William Hague has said in a letter to Burma Campaign UK that the British government; ‘continue to receive deeply troubling reports of the use of sexual violence in Burma’s conflict zones’.
The letter was in response to thousands of letters and campaign postcards calling for action to end rape and sexual violence in Burma, which were delivered to the Foreign Office on 12th September 2013.
The letter states that the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) has now been extended to Burma, and that PSVI activities will be incorporated into new and existing work in Burma.
Foreign Secretary William Hague also stated that the President of Burma welcomed the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative when he visited the UK in July. However, President Thein Sein has still failed to agree to join 134 countries which have now signed up to a declaration to combat sexual violence in conflict.
“Burma Campaign UK is pleased that the British government is now doing more on the issue of sexual violence in Burma,’ said Zoya Phan, Campaigns Manager at Burma Campaign UK. “If President Thein Sein continues to take no action to end Burmese Army impunity for rape and sexual violence, the Foreign Secretary must be prepared to move from a policy of soft encouragement to a much more robust approach including international justice mechanisms.”
“It is very good news that Burma is now being included in the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative,” said Zoya Phan. “This is something Burma Campaign UK has been campaigning for. We are still a very long way from seeing an end to sexual violence in Burma, and those responsible held to account, but this is a step in the right direction. To ensure real progress Burma must be fully included in PSVI with practical measures taken to end impunity and hold soldiers and their commanders to account. It must not just be a rebranding exercise where existing work is relabelled as PSVI work.”