International Women’s Day: 110 Renowned Women call on Burma’s Government to end rape and sexual violence

High profile women, including actress Dame Judi Dench and actress Gillian Anderson, have put their names to a document calling on action to stop the sexual assault and rape of women in Burma.

The pledge, which was released to mark International Women’s Day, called for: 1. An investigation into rape and sexual violence by the Burmese military against ethnic women and girls. 2. An end to impunity for rape and other forms of sexual violence in Burma. 3. Support for victims. 4. The inclusion of women at every political level in Burma. 5. Burma’s Rape Law to be in line with international human rights standards to outlaw rape in marriage.

Burma Campaign UK, a human rights advocacy organisation that helped organise the pledge, said Burma’s Government was not making enough progress on combatting sexual violence and rape, especially by members within the Military.


“The Burmese army has used rape and sexual violence against women for decades as part of their warfare against ethnic minority groups in the country. This has been done with impunity and denial.” Burma Campaign UK said in a statement to the press, adding, “Many of the victims were gang-raped, and many killed afterwards. This is in breach of international law, and constitutes a war crime.”

In spite of the much lauded election of the National League for Democracy party headed by pro-democracy politician Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese military will retain control of four key ministries, effectively making the policing of military human rights abuses a matter for the country’s top generals.

“There is a possibility that army rape will continue even with the new NLD-led government in place,” Burma Campaign UK said, but added, “The new NLD-led government could initiate a domestic investigation into rape and sexual violence by the Burmese army, and make sure support for victims is available.”

Zoya Phan, a campaigner for human rights in Burma, said rape was being used as a weapon of war: “The continuing use of rape and sexual violence by the Burmese Army is a crime, and the lack of action to stop it is a scandal.”

A report released by the Women’s League of Burma in January 2014 collected evidence of the Burmese Army raping more than 100 women since 2010 – including 47 cases of gang rape.

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