Burma Campaign – UK: Kachin Teachers Raped And Killed By Burma Army
The London based human rights advocacy organization, Burma Campaign UK, confirmed reports that two ethnic Kachin teachers were raped by Burma Army soldiers 19th and 20thJanuary.
In a media statement Burma Campaign UK called on the British government to use its Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative and send a team to Burma “to investigate the case.”
Burma Campaign UK urged the British government to stop its current training program with the Burma Army.
The Burma Campaign UK alleged that, “two female Kachin teachers, both 20-years-old and from the Kachin Baptist Convention, were brutally raped and killed by the Burmese Army overnight on 19th/20th January. The attack took place in Kaunghka village, Northern Shan State.”
Since 2011 the region, where the murders and rape took place, has been one of, when the Burma Army broke a 17 ceasefire with the Kachin Independence Army.
Burma Campaign UK claimed that, “Burma Army soldiers committing rape and sexual violence are able to do so with impunity.”
The Burma Campaign UK cite the Women’s League of Burma recent report – If they had hope, they would speak – that documented 118 cases of sexual violence against ethnic women by the Burmese military since 2010.
Other groups and organisations including the United Nations have urged the Burma government to investigate cases of sexual violence.
The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, requested the Burmese government to fully investigate such cases.
Burma Campaign UK said that despite the calls for investigations, “the government has failed to do so. The Burmese government has also failed to implement any of the provisions of the Declaration to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, which it signed last year.”
Burma Campaign UK in its statement said that “as a result of the ongoing impunity, women’s organisations in Burma, Burma Campaign UK and other NGOs are calling for an independent international investigation into these incidents of sexual violence, many of which meet the legal definition of war crimes. The British government has refused to support such an investigation, in contravention of its own stated goal of ending impunity for sexual violence in conflict.”
The Burma Campaign UK said that the British government could do more to pressure Burma’s government and pointed to its ongoing training program with the Burma Army.
The London based advocacy group said that the UK government had started its contentious training program “without placing any requirements that the Burmese Army agree to reforms and end impunity for sexual violence and rape committed by its soldiers. The British government has no system in place to ensure the soldiers trained using British taxpayers money have not been involved in rape or other war crimes.”
The Burma Campaign UK said pressure from within the British Parliament forced the British government to include “Burma in its Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative, but it has carefully targeted projects in Burma that avoid directly addressing the use of rape and sexual violence by the Burmese Army, apparently for fear of offending the Burmese government, from which it is trying to secure trade and investment agreements for British companies.”
Zoya Phan, the campaigns manager at Burma Campaign UK said that the, “brutal rape and killing of these two Kachin teachers is just one of the many examples of how the Burmese Army is still using rape as a weapon of war.”
Ms Phan claimed that the “international community has mostly been silent about the ongoing use of rape by the Burmese Army, and this has encouraged the Burmese Army to think they can keep getting away with these crimes.”
Ms Phan urged the UK government and the international community “to support investigation into rape and sexual violence in Burma. The British government, which claims ending sexual violence in conflict is a top foreign policy goal, must stop avoiding tackling this issue in Burma, and insist on sending a team of experts to investigate this case.”
Ms Phan said the British government had to more to pressure the Burma government to stop sexual violence by its military.
“It is simply not good enough for the Foreign Office to keep insisting the Burmese government carry out its own investigation when it knows that a genuine investigation is extremely unlikely. In the UK we don’t ask criminals to investigate their own crimes.”