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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/23/12

Burma must stop using rape as a weapon of war

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Soldiers from Burma Army committed an inhumane gang-rape Kachin Women's Association Thailand (KWAT) said in a documentation. The incident occurred at Luk Pi village in Chipwi township an area where heavy fighting took place in recent weeks between the Burmese soldiers and the Kachin Independence Army.   The victim was found in a church where she took refuge after most of her neighbors run away, according to Myitkyina's Blog [ ]. It was also confirmed by the Kachin News Group (KNG) and Kachinland News in their respective online pages.

A gang of bandit-like   Burmese soldiers tortured a 48-year-old Kachin woman and then gang-raped for three days in her village church northwest of Pang Wa (Pangwa) beginning 1 May, according to the Kachin Women's Association of Thailand (KWAT) citing interviews with the victim and a local villager who was forced to watch the assault.

Unarmed Kachin civilians are more and more under attack by the immoral Burmese armed forces in retaliation for their fallen soldiers during fighting with the Kachin Independence Organization and its military wing KIA. Daily accounts of Burmese army burning down villages, raping the Kachin women, bombing innocent natives, arresting and torturing local residents are reported from local sources, KNG said.

According to KWAT a group of around 10 untamed soldiers hit the victim with rifle butts, stabbed her with knives, stripped her naked and then gang-raped her over a period of three days in the church. The troops involved are said to be from Light Infantry Battalion 347 and Infantry Battalion 118.

KWAT says that Yu Ta Gwi, a 59 year old man who also was tied up and apprehended by those soldiers witnessed the brutal rape incident.   When the troops left the church on May 4th, local villagers found Yu Ta Gwi and the rape victim semi-conscious in the compound. Both Yu Ta Gwi and the unnamed women were then taken to a local hospital.

Yu Ta Gwi, aged 59, testified that about 10 Burmese soldiers surrounded the 48-year-old woman, hit her with gun butts and stabbed her with their knives. The soldiers pinned the woman down and forcibly removed her clothes and repeatedly raped her for three days inside the Church, said Yu Ta Gwi. He added that he heard her crying all the time till he himself was stabbed in his thigh and beaten until collapsed and lost consciousness, according t Kachinland News.

Burmese government soldiers left the two victims after torturing for three days. Yu Ta Gwi and the woman were found by former NDA (K), now government-controlled BGF soldiers and taken the two to Pangwa Hospital. The woman suffers psychological trauma following torture and rape. Ngwa Sa, her husband, said in tears, "she doesn't reply to me anymore, only talk about going home and I feel very sad."

The 48-year-old mother was left extremely traumatized by the violence and remains in an extremely fragile condition, according to Kachin Women's Association Thailand (KWAT).

It is very unlikely that any of the soldiers involved in the rape will even be formerly investigated for their actions. Burma's newly created national human rights commission has said that it will not probe allegations against the army or other incidents that are reported to have happened in conflict areas.

Last year, similar gang-rape violence done by Burmese soldiers also occurred. The victim, Sumlut Roi Ja, a Kachin village-woman had been seen last in October while being detained by Burmese troops near Mai Ja Yang.

Earlier this year, the husband of lost victim made a lawsuit against the soldiers, with the intention of pressuring the army to reveal the destiny of his wife.   As there is no rule of law, the military-dominated Supreme Court in Naypyidaw had thrown out the case of a citizen who suffered rape and disappeared by is soldiers. The law does not protect the citizens; instead it defends the vicious soldiers who committed gang-rape the innocent village-women in ethnic areas.

In a press release issued last week highlighting the recent rape case, a KWAT spokesperson suggested that the Burmese legal system's refusal to probe the Sumlut Roi Ja abduction case gave the army a green light to continue to target ethnic women. The message from the Naypyidaw Supreme Court is clear: the Burmese military can rape and kill ethnic women with impunity, said KWAT director Moon Nay Li.

According to Kachinland News , KIO Chairman Lanyaw Zawng Hra, KIO Central Committee requested through a letter asking the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to send UN observer teams or intermediary teams to the conflict war zones, and to the towns and villages destroyed by the Burmese Army, and to the IDP camps in KIO areas.

As Burmese army's offensive continues, grave human rights violations reached to an alarming new level and humanitarian situation has deteriorated in Kachin and Shan State. These incidents are not random acts of violence, said KWAT spokesperson Shirley Seng last year. The Burma Army is committing gang-rape and killing on a wide scale. It is clear they are acting under orders, Shirley Seng said.

KWAT demands that the regime immediately stops using rape as a weapon of war, ends the offensive against Kachin and other ethnic groups, and withdraws its troops from the ethnic areas.

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Zin Linn was born on February 9, 1946 in a small town in Mandalay Division. He began writing poems in 1960 and received a B.A (Philosophy) in 1976. He became an activist in the High School Union after the students' massacre on 7th July 1962. (more...)

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