UK Foreign Minister: sexual violence in Burma ‘deeply troubling’

Kachin IDP Gara Yang

British Foreign Secretary William Hague has told a prominent UK based Burma pro-rights group that the British Government continues to receive “deeply troubling” reports of the use of sexual violence in Burma’s conflict zones.

The letter, addressed to Burma Campaign UK, was written in response to thousands of letters calling for action to end sexual violence in Burma, that were delivered to the Foreign Office on 12th September 2013.

“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.” said Zoya Phan, Campaigns Manager at Burma Campaign UK.

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 that have signed a declaration to combat sexual violence in conflict.

“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.”

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.

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