Karen Women Organization condemns attempted rape of 22-year-old Karen woman by Burmese Army

Karen Women Organization
P.O. Box 19, Mae Sariang, Mae Hong Son, 58110, Thailand,
Email: kwocentral@gmail.com Website: http://www.karenwomen.org

Karen Women Organization condemns the attempted rape of a 22-year-old Karen woman by the Burmese Army

 Date: March 5, 2012

The Karen Women Organization today has begun caring for a 22 year old mother who was viciously attacked yesterday by two members of the Burmese Military.  The two soldiers attempted to rape her while she was working to grow vegetables for her family.  The victim has been badly beaten and drugged. She was only able to escape when nearby gunfire caused the soldiers to leave. This case of violence against a young woman in our community is particularly disturbing as it confirms previous reports of continued human rights violations against women and others despite the Burmese government’s initial cease fire agreement with the Karen National Union and some recent changes inside Burma.

“We are outraged and deeply saddened to hear about this attempted rape and brutal attack.  Unfortunately, it is only the most recent case.  We hope for peace every day, but this despicable attack reminds us how far we have to go to have the rights, peace and safety our community deserves.”  stated Dah Eh Kler, Secretary, Karen Women Organization

 There must be an end to human rights abuses in order for true peace and democracy to be achieved in Burma.  Karen women, along with Karen men and children, have been abused by the Burmese military for decades.  While the international community has welcomed changes inside Burma as the beginnings of a new day, the day to day reality for people living in villages throughout Karen State remains unchanged.  This most recent egregious case is only one example of human rights abuses which continue every day including forced labor and other acts of violence against women.   The United Nations Commission on Human Rights has affirmed many times that violence against women is a violation of human rights and has emphasized the particularly heinous role such violence plays in conflict situations or when condoned or encouraged by the State.

 We ask the international communities, who have been encouraging the Burmese dictatorship to move toward democracy, to take our reports of abuse seriously. We ask that you take all possible steps to create a more comprehensive Peace Agreement which ends human rights violations so a legitimate political settlement can be reached.  We need a Peace Agreement which the military-backed government can be held to with real monitoring and accountability.  Violence against women cannot be tolerated, nor can Karen women have faith in a process for change or the Thein Sein government when they are faced with this type of abuse.

 Contact: Nan Dah Eh Kler – +66 857269291
Naw K’nyaw Paw – +66 810295503

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About Karen Women Organisation

The Karen Women Organisation was formed in 1949 and has a membership of over 64,100 women. KWO is a community-based organisation of Karen women working in development and relief in the refugee camps on the Thai border and with IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) and women inside Burma. Since our formation in 1949 we have expanded our focus from one of purely social welfare to try to encourage an awareness of Women's Rights and to promote women’s participation in the community decision making and political processes. The objectives of the KWO  To assist women in the endeavour to be free from all forms of oppression.  To promote and empower women in all spheres of life, including education and general living standards.  To encourage women to participate in the struggle for freedom, democracy and equality.  To develop women's knowledge, ability and skills, including political and organizational skills.  To achieve the rights of women and equal status with men.  To promote and maintain Karen culture and traditions.  To improve the well-being of women and children and to increase their access to adequate health, education and welfare services. KWO aims to empower women through offering various capacity building trainings to teach skills, build confidence and create new opportunities so that women will be better able to solve problems. We are working hard to educate ourselves and our communities so that we can work more effectively and advocate for our struggle on the international stage. We believe that women’s contribution is an essential factor in the peace-building and national reconciliation processes of Burma.