Report Highlights Ethnic Women’s Mistrust of Govt After Decades of War, Human Rights Abuses

A new report by the Karen Human Rights Group has documented the insecurity and mistrust ethnic women have to Burmese authorities following decades of armed conflict.

The report, entitled Hidden Strengths, Hidden Struggles, catalogues some of the main concerns ethnic women have as they go about their daily lives, including fears over personal security, sexual violence, land confiscation and access to a secure income.

“First, we want to present the voices of women in Burma and the experiences they have been through. We also look at the situation they face after a ten-year period to see what are the changes,” Naw Htoo Htoo, KHRG’s Director, told Karen News.

The report, which is based on interviews over a four-year period, from 2012, to 2016, found that ethnic women felt more secure since a ceasefire was negotiated between the Karen National Union and the Burma Army in 2012.

One of the main improvements noted in the report was women feeling safer in accessing farmland nearby.

The report stressed, however, that ethnic women generally still felt unsafe and afraid, with a presence of soldiers a particular concern.

“There are many recommendations we made in the report to address the issues. Mainly, there must be the rule of law and more transparency,” Naw Htoo Htoo said, “There must be no gender based discrimination and sexual violence.

There should also be continuing support for organizations and agencies who work to improve the conditions and other general improvement in services like education and health,” Naw Htoo Htoo added.

The report can be read in full on the Karen Human Rights Group website.

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