The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a recent released report to the UN Security Council said that there is, ‘a high level of impunity for conflict-related sexual violence perpetrated by State actors’.
In his report the UN’s Security Council, the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the government of Burma “…to ensure that security personnel accused of such crimes are prosecuted.” The Secretary-General’s report also pointed out that there is a ‘lack of transparency in military courts.’
The Burma Campaign UK said in a media statement that while it “welcomed the UN Secretary-General’s continued highlighting of the widespread sexual violence in Burma, but is disappointed that he has not taken any practical action to end impunity, such as supporting the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry into rape and sexual violence in Burma. The Secretary-General is aware that the government of Burma will not investigate its own crimes.”
The Burma Campaign UK pointed out in its released statement that the “Burmese Army continues to pursue a policy of rape as a weapon of war against ethnic women and girls where their soldiers enjoy guaranteed impunity.”
The Burma Campaign UK cited passages from the UN Secretary-General’s report to the Security Council that support its position that sexual violence is Burma conflict areas is widespread.
“Information verified by the United Nations indicates that sexual violence remains widespread in Kachin State, where armed conflict continues, as well as in northern Shan and Rakhine States and areas subject to ceasefire agreements in Chin State and the south-east of the country.”
The Burma Campaign UK pointed to the January 2015 raping and killing of two ethnic schoolteachers that highlighted the ongoing sexual violence in Burma – “women’s groups from Burma also continue to highlight rape and sexual violence cases. Recent cases include the brutal raping and killing of two ethnic Kachin teachers, Maran Lu Ra and Tangbau Hkawn Nan Tsin by Burmese Army soldiers, in January.”
The Burma Campaign UK said that despite the Burmese government endorsing, “the Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in June 2014, it appears to have taken no steps to implement the declaration. Instead, the Burmese government continues the culture of impunity, as well as intimidating and arresting women activists.”
Ms Zoya Phan, Campaigns Manager at Burma Campaign UK called for an independent international investigation into widespread sexual violence in Burma and said while her organisation welcomed the “UN Secretary-General continuing to highlight the issue of sexual violence in Burma and his call for the prosecution of those perpetrators. Given the fact that the Burmese government is ignoring the previous call for action by the UN Secretary-General, and will never take action to investigate its own sexual crimes, Ban Ki-moon is allowing continued impunity by failing to support an international investigation into these human rights violations.”
The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s annual 2015 report, Conflict-related sexual violence – Report of the Secretary-General reflected what the 2014 report also documented when the UN Secretary-General made called for the Government of Burma “…to fully investigate and respond to current and historical human rights violations and abuses, including crimes of sexual violence…”.