Burmese Soldiers Raped 18 Women in 12 days of Conflict
22 June 2011: Burmese soldiers are accused of raping as many as 18 women and girls and killing at least four victims since June 10, when fighting broke out between the Burma Army and Kachin Independence Army (KIA).
The Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT) said that at least eighteen women and girls have been gang-raped between June 10-18, 2011 during Burma Army advances on KIA strongholds along the China-Burma border.
Four of those women were killed after being raped, one in front of her husband, who was tied up and forced to watch. Another woman died from her injuries during rape, according to the women’s rights group.
The fighting ended 18 years of formal armistice between Burma’s ruling regime and Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the political wing of KIA.
Shirley Seng, KWAT’s spokesperson said that the violence against Kachin women are not random acts but are perpetrated as part of a wider military strategy employed by the Burma Army.
KWAT named several army battalions whose troops were responsible for such acts: Light Infantry Battalion 437 and Infantry Battalions 237, 141, 142, 139 and 437). It also detailed exact dates and places from which the incidents were documented.
Accusing the Burma Army of using rape as a weapon of war, KWAT has demanded an immediate end to the ongoing offensive in Kachin State and the withdrawal of Burmese troops from the ethnic areas. It also urged China, the immediate neighboring country to provide refuge and humanitarian aid to those fleeing, and to mediate in the conflict.
Systematic and widespread rape of ethnic women by the Burma Army has been well documented across Burma.
In her video address to international audience last month, Burma’s democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi said, “Rape is used in my country as a weapon against those who only want to live in peace, who only want to assert their basic human rights. Especially in the areas of the ethnic nationalities, rape is rife.”