The ongoing use of state sponsored sexual violence in Burma’s ethnic communities
(Yangon, November 24, 2014) – Burma Army soldiers continue to engage in acts of sexual violence on a widespread scale, and women and human rights defenders in ethnic communities face harassment and persecution, the Women’s League of Burma (WLB) said in a new report published today to coincide with International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. To achieve sustainable peace and help safeguard the rights of ethnic women, the government of Burma must immediately stop its military offensives in the ethnic areas, pull back its troops and begin political dialogue with the ethnic armed groups towards genuine federalism.
The WLB’s new report, ‘If they had hope, they would speak’: The ongoing use of state-sponsored sexual violence in Burma’s ethnic communities’, highlights 118 incidences of gang-rape, rape, and attempted sexual assault that have been documented in Burma since 2010, in both ceasefire and
In September 2014, KWO’s Special Education students, staff and families celebrated International Deaf Day. We worked together to raise awareness, to show our abilities and to educate our communities about living with deafness. These events took place in all seven camps. Activities included action songs, dramas, role-plays and using Karen Deaf Sign Language to communicate with the audience.
The Special Education Students participated in competitions (songs, drawing photos, paper folding art, matching memory games, and writing games) with other organizations in the camps to build relationships. The SE Teachers took part in the activities with students, and conducted quizzes to challenge community knowledge about disability. Community leaders also gave speeches to the students, parents and community members.
The Deaf students especially enjoyed the opportunity to teach community members how to use Karen Sign Language: words for fruit, days of the week, animals, and clothing were practiced by hundreds of people. This event was an opportunity for “the quiet people” to increase awareness about deafness.
The following report was prepared by Karen Rivers Watch (KRW), a coalition of six Karen organizations focused on the environment, women, youth, human rights and development issues. This report is based on field interviews with local villagers and leaders of Karen armed groups, as well as media coverage of the recent conflict. It describes events that led to recent armed conflict between the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) and the combined force of the Burmese Army (BA) and Border Guard Force (BGF) in Karen State. Next, the report gives a detailed account of clashes that occurred along the Salween River in Hpa-an and Hpapun (Mutraw) districts. It also describes the current situation faced by more than 2,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), many of whom are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance. It relates accounts of forced labor, looting of homes, confiscation of property, and increased militarization. Finally, it discusses how the recent fighting appears to be part of a calculated military strategy by the BA/BGF to control territory in Karen State, possibly motivated by plans to construct the Hatgyi Dam on the Salween River.
The report is available here:
KWO runs nursery schools in 2 refugee camps on Thailand and in partnership with more than 70 villages in Karen State. This past week, October 2014, the Nursery Schools in Mae La Oon and Mae Ra Moe refugee camps held a competition about the story of Karen Culture. Here are some pictures from the events in each camp
The nursery schools also are continuing their normal curriculum for the year
KWO’s nursery schools in Karen State are also continuing to provide quality curriculum, nutrition, teacher training, and support for families, despite a severe shortfall in funding. If you can help support these schools please donate using the donate button on this website in the upper left.
KWO is celebrating meeting our fundraising goal of $4600(USD) to build a new women’s training center in Karen State. This is our first successful crowd funding effort.
Work on the new center has already begun. KWO staff and leaders made 1400 clay bricks which are now drying and awaiting the next phase of building.
This campaign is an exciting collaboration between 3 community organisations based in Thailand and working in SE Asia, Karen Women’s Organisation, Pun Pun Centre for Sustainable Development and the International Women’s Partnership for Peace and Justice The aim is to build a training centre for Karen women from Burma. But the aim goes way beyond that since Karen women will be building their very own adobe building for their own training centre and at the same time learning the skills to go on to build with adobe in their own communities.
THANKS to everyone who contributed!
KWO was proud to learn in September that P’Doh Naw Zipporah Sein, has been honoured with a Peace Award by the Women’s Organisations Network (WON) of Burma. The award was presented on the 20th September, 2014, during the recent Women’s Peace Forum held in Rangoon for 2 days and organized by WON and WLB. The Peace Award recognizes Zipporah’s commitment to achieve peace in our country. Another Peace Award was presented the same day by the WLB to the Arakanese woman leader and peace activist, Saw Mra Raza Lin. The Forum was attended by more than 340 women from all over Burma.
P’Doh Naw Zipporah Sein is Continue reading
The Karen Women’s Organisation has criticized the decision by the Karen National Union to suspend its membership from the United Nationalities Federal Council last month, claiming the decision was made without proper consultation with the Karen community.
Speaking exclusively to Karen News, Naw K’nyaw Paw, Secretary of the KWO, said that the decision came as a surprise to many Karen leaders, including within the KNU itself.
“Many KCBOs are expressing concerns about the KNU walk out from UNFC Congress and its suspension from the UNFC and they have demanded more transparency about how these decisions were made,” she said. Continue reading