“Rape is used in my country as a weapon of war. It is used as a weapon by armed forces to intimidate the ethnic nationalities and to divide our country.” (Aung San Suu Kyi, speaking at a conference of the Nobel Women’s Initiative in 2011) In Burma, rape is used with total impunity by the military and security forces as a weapon of war; brutally deployed against minority ethnic populations for decades. It’s systematic nature is one reason that international bodies, human rights organizations, legal experts and activists have said that it is a “genocidal act” intended to destroy and repress whole peoples. On this page you will find the resources necessary to inform you of what is happening, who is responsible, and how you can be a part of the campaign to fight against the systematic use of rape by Burmese forces.
RAPE AS A WEAPON OF WAR
Since Burma’s independence, ethnic minorities, particularly: Rohingya, Kachin, Karen, Shan and Mon peoples have been targeted by the state for violent repression and persecution. The Rohingya were stripped of citizenship and rendered stateless in 1982, and periodically targeted in mass campaigns of violence by the state and militant Buddhists, most recently in 2012 and 2016-17.
1,100,000 Rohingya have fled Burma. 140,000 Rohingya are internally displaced. During the October 2016-March 2017 clearance operation over 1,000 Rohingya were killed by Burmese forces and reports of sexual violence, including hundreds of rapes were recorded.
The Kachin, Karen, Shan and Mon have also faced horrific scorched earth campaigns by the military. All these groups have experienced crimes against humanity: thousands of deaths, disappearances, sexual violence, massive displacement, limitations on movement and access to basic necessities of life, such as food, healthcare and education.
Tens of thousands of Kachin have fled Burma. Over 100,000 are displaced in Kachin and Shan states. Hundreds of Kachin and Shan civilians have been killed by the government after it broke a ceasefire agreement with rebels. The Women’s League of Burma in 2014 documented over 100 cases of rape by the Burmese military against Kachin and Shan.
GET INVOLVED! TAKE ACTION TODAY
Support a full and impartial investigation of sexual violence and rape of Rohingya.
Governments and international agencies should continue to support medical and psychosocial care for survivors of sexual violence in Burma.
Get Burma’s laws on rape in accord with the International Criminal Court’s laws on rape
Volunteer in the fight to end rape: in need of researchers, specialists, organizers and those who are able to provide time and expertise in this fight.