Two years on, Kachin woman abducted by Burma’s Army still missing, presumed dead

The 28th of October marked the second anniversary of the abduction of Sumlut Roi Ja, an ethnic Kachin woman, by members of Burma’s Army.

She is still missing.

Burma Army soldiers arrested Sumlut Roi Ja, a 28-year-old mother, on October 28th 2011 while she was working on the family’s farm near her village Hkai Bang, close to the China border.

Her husband and father-in-law were also arrested and they were forced at gunpoint to carry corn to a military camp, Battalion 321, at Mubum. They managed to escape, but Sumlut Roi Ja was left behind.

Burma Campaign UK said that several witnesses saw her after her arrest at the military camp.

“The government of Burma does not admit that any human rights abuses are committed by its soldiers, and soldiers know they can rape ethnic women and get away with it,” said Zoya Phan, Campaigns Manager at Burma Campaign UK.

Sumlut Roi Ja’s husband, Dau Lum, took the case to Burma’s Supreme Court in Nay Pyi Daw.

The case was dismissed.

President Thein Sein’s government has since taken no action to investigate and prosecute the soldiers who abducted Sumlut Roi Ja.

The Burma Campaign UK said Sumlut Roi Ja’s case highlights the impunity of the military in Burma, despite recent economic and political reforms.

“The case of Sumlut Roi Ja is an example of how violations of international law have continued under President Thein Sein. The British government should not be training the Burmese Army in the art of war while it still commits these kinds of abuses. The silence of the international community on the continuing use of sexual violence by the Burmese Army encourages them to continue to believe they can act with impunity.”

International human rights groups point out that abuses still abound in Burma. New cases of human rights abuses committed by the military continue to surface including the use of forced labour, the deliberate targeting of civilians in conflict, and the use of rape and sexual violence.

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