Burma shrugged off UN declaration on sexual violence
26 September 2013: The government of Burma has not as yet signed a new UN declaration of commitment to end sexual violence in conflict despite continuous calls by local and international communities.
115 countries joined in supporting the declaration launched in New York on Tuesday by British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Zainab Hawa Bangura, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.
Zoya Phan, Campaigns Manager at Burma Campaign UK, said: “The use of rape and sexual violence in conflict in Burma must be stopped. If Thein Sein refuses to co-operate, then international legal action should be taken to prevent these crimes. For many ethnic women, rape by Burmese Army soldiers is a daily fear, and justice seems to be just a distant dream.”
A statement by Burma Campaign UK said William Hague and British Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire had requested President Thein Sein to participate in the Preventive Sexual Violence Initiative.
At the event, Mr. Hague said: “This is a milestone towards shattering impunity for those who commit horrific sexual crimes during times of war.”
The declaration contains a set of practical and political commitments to end the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war.
According to a statement by the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office, countries will be able to continue to add their endorsement to the Declaration until October 4th.
Successive military governments of Burma have been notorious for their rampant systematic use of sexual violence and rape against ethnic women and girls as an instrument of control, a practice reported as recently as 2012.#