“The government of Burma cannot hope to build a new society without improving the conditions of the people and the laws governing them. The situation of the women of Burma represents the exact prototype of how impunity works in a modern world. Today, as we observe the International Women’s day, solidarity activists around the world should learn not just to cry and symphatize with the women of Burma—we should find ways on how to use our solidarity work to help stop all forms of violence against them.”
Thus said Yuen Abana of Free Burma Coalition-Philippines – Women (FBC-Phils-Women) as the group today joined thousands of Philippine women activists in observance of International Women’s Day. The group with the rest of other women activists wearing purple shirts numbering to more than a thousand marched from Blumentritt St. in Espana Manila to the historic Mendiola Bridge near the Malacanang Palace.
According to the group claims of women rights abuses have been documented for decades now and have forced hundreds of women to leave their communities without access to basic services like food, livelihood, health and medical services along with the risks of getting abused and exploited. Moreover, women and children are killed while in hiding across the borders.
“The government in Burma is now busy advertising that it is on its way to democracy. If the regime is now sincere in opening up a genuine political process in Burma, we challenge them to look into the cases of abused women and bring immediate justice to them. Bringing justice to the women of Burma is a huge requirement in nation building,” Abana explained.
In March 2010 the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Burma Antonio Quintana outlined in his report the pattern of gross and systematic abuses that have been happening for many years in Burma. Since then, many advocates within Burma and from all over the world have raised their hopes that these be addressed through a UN established Commission of Inquiry (CoI) and investigate the use of rape as a weapon of war and the widespread crimes against humanity, especially against women.
The group explained that United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1820 which condemns the use of rape and other forms of sexual violence as a weapon of war is a testament that these kinds of acts are inexcusable and punishable by international law. They likewise urge governments to support the UNSC Resolution 1325 and 1820 to mandate criminal accountability for perpetrators of gender crimes in conflict situation.UNSCR 1325 which was unanimously adopted in Oct 31, 2000 officially endorses the inclusion of women in peace processes and the implementation of existing peace agreements.
“This pattern of systematic sexual abuses against the women of Burma must be stopped. Genuine reforms must be welcomed but reform without justice is meaningless. Those involved in the perpetration of crimes against women must be held accountable,” Abana concluded.
Free Burma Coalition (FBC) – Phils.- Women
For inquiries: Call (632) 435-2900 or (632) 911-0205