British MP, Valerie Vaz delivered more than 2,000 letters from supporters of Burma Campaign UK on 12 September to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, calling for action to end sexual violence against women in Burma.
Burma Campaign UK 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.
The group was deeply concerned about on-going human rights abuses, including rape and sexual violence against women in ethnic minority areas, where it claims the Burma Army has been using rape as a weapon of war for decades.
Since the Burma’s Army ceasefires ended two years ago in Kachin and Northern Shan States, Burma Campaign UK said it had received a significant increase in reports of the use of rape and other forms of sexual violence against women by the government’s troops.
Cases included women and girls being forced at gunpoint to be guides and to porter for the Burma Army’s soldiers.
Burma Campaign UK alleged that in many cases these women are subjected to sexual violence.
Burma Campaign UK details in its statement one of the most shocking 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.
“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,” stressed Valerie Vaz MP, who delivered the letters and campaign postcards on behalf of supporters of Burma Campaign UK.
Valerie Vaz urged the British government and its Foreign Secretary to take heed of the petition.
“William Hague should ensure that Burma is fully included in the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative.”