Chittagong, Bangladesh: An immediate end to war crimes in Burma has been demanded by two Burmese Women’s groups, according to their press release


The Women’s groups - Women’s League of Burma (WLB) and The Palaung Women' Organization (PWO) issued separate statements against the rape of ethnic women of Burma by the ruling junta’s military mechanism.


“On October 9 at 2 p.m. six soldiers of Battalion 9 from Murng Naung Basse, located in Wan Pan village, gang raped three Palaung women outside Wan Pan village, Ho Pong village tract, Loi Lem district in Southern Shan State. All three women Daw Nan Man (52) Ma Aye Sein (32) and Ma Aye Kyaing (14) were rice cultivators. The Ma Aye Sein was raped and stabbed. She died of multiple injuries.


The soldiers who perpetrated the crime are Thet Pine, Thet Lwin Oo, Myo Thein, La Min  Htwe, Kyaw Soe and Win Ko,” said the statement.


The statement said that Daw Nan Man and Ma Aye Kyaing escaped from the soldiers with serious injuries. However, the soldiers let go off Ma Aye Sein, whose injuries were too severe for her to move, lying in the bush where the gang rape took place. Ma Aye Sein's skull had cracked open, there were four stab wounds under her left breast and three ribs were broken. Ma Aye Sein died on October 13 in Lwe Lin Hospital from her injuries. Delay in getting her to hospital complicated matters.


“The rape is a repeat of the circumstances of rape of at least 29 Palaung women in Southern Shan State between January and April this year. We recognize the rape of these three women to be part of the well-documented systematic use of rape committed by the military regime as a strategy to subjugate the ethnic people of Burma and this case again highlights the impunity with which the military regime and its soldiers operate and demonstrate the ongoing state of emergency in Burma,” the PWO statement said.


The WLB stated in a position paper submitted to the United Nations in New York on October 25 that recent incidents of sexual violence by the Burmese military regime’s troops in western, eastern and central Burma have lent urgency to demands for an immediate end to war crimes in Burma, according their press release.


It also said that on October 9, six soldiers from Infantry Battalion No. 9 gang-raped three Palaung women, including a 14-year-old girl, in southern Shan State who died of her injuries. On October 10, three naval cadets gang raped a 14-year-old girl in Sittwe, Arakan State in western Burma. On August 22, 2006, a Russian-trained Burma Army officer raped a 17-year-old village girl at gunpoint near Tada-U Airport in central Burma while on security duty. None of the rapists have been punished.


“These political rapes and these war crimes have been continuing because of the system of impunity that exists in Burma and the complete lack of any political improvement in the country,” said Thin Thin Aung, a WLB Presidium Board member, and one of the WLB team members lobbying in the United Nations Security Council in New York.


“The UN Security Council must pressure the regime to implement an immediate ceasefire and cease all war crimes against civilians in Burma,” said Thin Thin Aung. “Then the UNSC must ensure that an irreversible peace and reconciliation process takes place.”

According to the PWO statement, these inhuman actions must stop immediately and only genuine political reform in Burma will protect these Palaung women from various forms of sexual violence.


PWO called on the international community to increase pressure on the military regime to implement a nationwide ceasefire, withdraw troops stationed in ethnic areas and begin a tripartite dialogue.