Rape As War In Burma

Burmese soldiers gang-raped and mutilated a 15-year-old girl, fryingpanfire sources have said.

Schoolgirl Nhkum Hkawn Din was set upon and killed on her way to delivering rice to her brother, who was working in a paddy field in July.

“We are aware of these reports. We are investigating these reports. No one has been officially arrested,” Burmese authorities said, under promise of anonymity.

The teen’s brother raised the alarm after returning home to find his sister was not there.

Friends and family searched for her until they reported the teen missing later that evening.

Her body was found three days later – she was naked, had been repeatedly stabbed and 200 metres from an army checkpoint.

Searchers first found her clothes, then her slippers together with the basket she carried that day.

The girl’s body was so badly mutilated, her family was only able to identify by her clothes and accessories.

“This is a horrific attack and should remind governments and the United Nations of the true nature of this regime,” said Nang Seng, campaigns officer at Burma Campaign UK.

“Local people are very angry that these rapes happen again and again and no action is taken.

“There is no justice or rule of law in Burma. People are hoping that the United Nations will take up this case.”

According to Burma Campaign UK, local army commanders admitted one soldier carried out the attack and a senior colonel has been transferred.

Also, the army has offered the family £250 compensation in addition to a bag of rice, some cooking oil, five cans of milk and some sugar.

In a dangerous act of defiance, posters calling for justice have been put up in the local capital Mychina.

“Cases of sexual violence against ethnic women are rife. There is a culture of impunity and the Burmese army have been getting away with this for years,” said Dave Mathieson from Human Rights Watch.

“This is something that should be investigated seriously by the international community, ideally through a high level commission of inquiry on abuses by the military.”

Over 1,000 cases of rape on the part of Burmese soldiers against ethnic minorities have been documented.

Burma’s military junta faced harsh criticism for failing to allow international aid workers access to the hardest hit areas of the country following Cyclone Nargis in May.


This article was originally published on Sky News Online on 21 August 2008. All rights reserved.


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