Burma Army Accused of Using Sexual Violence in Shan State Conflict

Burma Army soldiers are perpetrating sexual violence against women in conflict areas inside Shan State, according to a local human rights organisation.

The Shan Human Rights Foundation documented at least eight cases of sexual violence committed by Burma Army soldiers in ceasefire areas since April of this year.

The latest incident allegedly occurred on November 5th, where a 32 year-old woman was reportedly gang raped by 10 Burma Army soldiers, near Ke See Township Shan State.

“These cases reveal continuing patterns of impunity, and highlight that ongoing militarization and offensives by the Burma Army despite ceasefires are a key factor threatening women’s security in ethnic areas,” the Shan Human Rights Foundation said in a statement to the press.

SHRF said that perpetrators were arrested in only two of the eight cases. “SHRF is gravely concerned at this ongoing pattern of impunity,” the organisation said.

A January 2014 report by the Women’s League of Burma, an umbrella group that includes ethnic human rights organisations, documented more than 100 cases of sexual violence perpetrated by the military since 2010 with victims as young as eight years old. The report stated that of these cases, 47 of the women were gang raped and 28 women were either killed or later died of their injuries.

The Burma government signed Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in June last year to much international acclaim, although human rights activists had treated the move with a mixture of caution and outright derision. At the time, Zoya Phan, a London based Karen human rights advocate, said the decision was a was little more than a “PR exercise” to appease the international community.

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