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UN Report On Sexual Violence Highlights Entrenched Rape Culture In Burma Security Forces


Sexual Violence

The Myanmar (Burma) section of a recent report on sexual violence is quite explicit about how entrenched rape culture is within the Burmese military. The Rohingyas, along with other vulnerable ethnic minorities have faced the brunt of such violence. Full Report: 

http://edge.passblue.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/N1708433.pdf

Myanmar

 

Sexual violence continues to be underreported in Myanmar owing to entrenched discrimination, fear of retaliation, limited access to services, and a lack

of trust and confidence in the police and judicial system.

 

Barriers to accountability are even greater when sexual violence is committed by members of the national security forces. On 9 October 2016, operations were launched in Northern Rakhine State in response to attacks against border guard police in the region, with numerous allegations of human rights violations, including sexual violence, reported against the Rohingyas (an ethnic Muslim minority) by the Myanmar Armed Forces (the Tatmadaw), the Border Guard Police Force, and the Police Force of Myanmar. An estimated 66,000 civilians have fled to Bangladesh following the operations. On the basis of first-hand information from those who had crossed the border, OHCHR reported in February 2017 that more than 50 of the 100 women and girls interviewed described having been subjected to rape, gang rape or other forms of sexual violence, apparently employed systematically to humiliate and terrorize their community. Some of the rapes were carried out in front of relatives, as well as to punish women for their perceived support for “insurgents”, who are often male family members. Only those survivors who managed to cross the border have been able to access care.

 

Despite the Emergency Treatment of Patients Law (2014), which waived mandatory reporting by service providers to the police in cases of sexual violence,the practice persists, further inhibiting reporting and response. The risk of sexual violence linked with conflict and displacement, notably in Kachin and NorthernShan States, is compounded by a lack of educational and employment opportunities. 

 

This physical and economic insecurity leaves civilians, particularly those who areinternally displaced, at heightened risk of trafficking, including for the purposes of

forced marriage and sexual exploitation.

 

Recommendation

I urge the Government of Myanmar to facilitate humanitarian access toNorthern Rakhine State, including to assist survivors of sexual violence. To ensure

that there is no impunity for such crimes, I reiterate calls made by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in 2016 to repeal immunity

provisions for members of the security forces. I also call upon the authorities toensure the implementation of the Emergency Treatment of Patients Law

(2014), and to harmonize the domestic definition of rape, which derives from the Penal Code of 1860, with current international standards.

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