Hold the Myanmar military and security forces accountable for their grave human rights violations, including violence against women
Hold the Myanmar military and security forces accountable for their grave human rights violations, including violence against women
December 19, 2021
Dear Members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council,
We, the undersigned women’s rights and human rights organizations, call upon the UN Security Council to hold the Myanmar military and security forces accountable for their grave human rights violations, including the use of violence against women. We strongly condemn the Myanmar military and security forces for their acts in violation of international human rights and humanitarian laws and norms, which amount to crimes against humanity according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar, and the UN Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar. Since the Myanmar military’s attempted seizure of power on February 1, 2021, the junta has arbitrarily arrested and detained at least 11,047 people, and murdered over 1345. Nationwide, the Myanmar military junta is intensifying its use of air strikes and other heavy weapons against civilians, forcing thousands of women and children to flee their homes. Given the Myanmar military and security forces’ decades-long use of sexual and gender-based violence against ethnic minority women, including Rohingya, we are extremely distressed that the situation of the women of Myanmar will continue to be severely exacerbated.
Today, we write this letter to draw attention to the Myanmar military junta’s widespread and systematic use of violence against women in particular since February 1, 2021. Among such brutalities, the following cases demonstrate the junta’s acts in violation of international human rights and humanitarian laws and norms, including the UN Charter and the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and in contravention of the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the UN Security Council Resolution 1325:
1. On February 9, in Naypyidaw, Naypyidaw Union Territory, a Myanmar Police Force officer fired a submachine gun at a group of civilians in a non-violent anti-coup demonstration, shooting 19-year-old Mya Thwet Thwet Khaing in the head and resulting in her death a week later.
2. On March 3, in Mandalay, Mandalay Region, the Myanmar military and security forces fired live ammunition at a group of civilians in a non-violent anti-coup demonstration, murdering 19-year-old Kyal Sin, or Angel.
3. On April 3, in Mutraw District, Karen State, following its wave of airstrikes on the Thai-Myanmar border from March 27 to April 1, the Myanmar military fired shells into villages, killing a woman in Ler Day Village; four days later, the military fired shells into Nay Ga Village, injuring two women and an 11-year-old girl.
4. On April 17, in Yankin Township, Yangon Region, the Myanmar military and security forces arbitrarily detained 31-year-old Khin Nyein Thu, 19-year-old Hsu Linn Htet, and four men for their alleged involvement in a series of bomb attacks; and at an interrogation center in the city’s Shwepyithar Township, tortured and sexually assaulted Khin Nyein Thu, including by kicking and beating her sexual organs with a stick until they bled.
5. On May 25, in Tawseint Village, Magwe Region, approximately 70 soldiers and officers of the Myanmar military and security forces raided the area and fired live ammunition at residents for their alleged involvement in producing anti-coup graffiti, murdering 24-year-old Saung Hnin Hmon.
6. On June 13, in Bamun Village, Mandalay Region, the Myanmar military and security forces arbitrarily detained 5-year-old Su Htet Wine, her 44-year-old mother, and 17-year-old sister when attempting to arrest her father, a local protest leader. While Su Htet Wine was released on June 30, her mother and sister were sentenced in July to three years in prison for alleged incitement.
7. On July 27, in Mandalay, Mandalay Region, the Myanmar military and security forces fired live ammunition at a group of civilians in a non-violent anti-coup demonstration, murdering 25-year-old Thu Thu Zin. Her body has yet to be returned to her family.
8. On September 1, in Paung Township, Mon State, the Myanmar military and security forces fired live ammunition at 27-year-old Ei Thwe Moe, who was five months pregnant, and her husband, killing them both.
9. On October 28, in Pyin Htaung Village, Sagaing Region, the Myanmar military and security forces raided the area and fired live ammunition at civilians, killing six-year-old Myo Thandar Hlaing.
10. On November 7, in Kutkai Township, Shan State, a soldier from the Myanmar military and security forces raped a 62-year-old woman.
11. On November 11, in Aklui Village, Chin State, a group of soldiers from the Myanmar military and security forces raided the area, plundered its homes, and gang raped a 27-year-old woman and her 30-year-old sister-in-law.
12. On December 5, in Kyimyindaing Township, Yangon Region, a Myanmar military vehicle rammed into a group of civilians in a non-violent anti-coup demonstration, resulting in fatalities and leaving many injured; soldiers then fired at the demonstrators and arbitrarily detained at least three women, including Mya Kyu Kyu Thin, Yin May Aung, and Hmuu Yadanar Khet Moh Moh Htun.
We would like to share our sincere appreciation for the member states’ continued efforts to raise awareness of the ongoing atrocities, including by issuing statements and resolutions. However, ten months after the coup attempt, we fear that words alone cannot be deemed effective in putting an end to the junta’s violence and protecting the lives of the country’s people. For over thirty years, the Myanmar military and security forces that compose the junta today have wielded violence to subjugate the country’s ethnic minority communities. According to the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, sexual and gender-based violence — including rape, gang rape, sexual mutilation, sexual slavery — have been the hallmark of the Myanmar military and security forces’ commission of mass atrocity crimes, including genocide against Rohingya. Providing further evidence of such terror in Myanmar, women’s rights and human rights organizations have long urged for justice to be served to the victims and survivors of the military’s brutalities. Yet, the international community’s failure to take concerted action to meet such decades-long calls for accountability has instead emboldened the Myanmar military and security forces to launch a coup attempt, and intensify their use of violence nationwide. We now believe that the junta is perpetrating crimes against humanity across the entire country, and are asking you to take all the necessary measures to protect the people of Myanmar today.
Therefore, we, the undersigned organizations, urge the UN Security Council to hold the Myanmar military and security forces accountable by adopting a resolution to
1. Refer the situation of Myanmar to the International Criminal Court in order hold the Myanmar military and security forces accountable for committing crimes, including sexual and gender-based violence, under international law.
2. Impose targeted economic sanctions, financial penalties, and restrictions on the junta leadership and businesses that are owned and controlled by the Myanmar military and security forces; and freeze their assets.
3. Impose a comprehensive and global arms embargo on Myanmar.
We thank you for your leadership and attention to this matter.
Signed by 618 Myanmar and international human rights and women’s rights organizations,* including:
1. Abductees’ Mothers Association
3. ACDI/VOCA Myanmar
4. African Women 4 Empowerment
5. Aliran, Malaysia
6. Alliance of Inclusive Muslims (AIM)
8. Alyansa Tigil Mina (Alliance to Stop Mining) – Philippines
9. American Rohingya Advocacy/Arakan Institute for Peace and Development
10. Anti hate movement
11. Asia Democracy Network
12. Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
13. Asia Pacific Forum on Women Law and Development
14. Asia Pacific Partnership for Atrocity Prevention (APPAP)
15. Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters-HRDP
16. Association of War Affected Women
17. Association of Women for Awareness and Motivation (AWAM)
18. Athan – Freedom of Expression Activist Organization
19. Aware Girls
20. Balai Syura Ureung Inong Aceh
21. BALAOD Mindanaw
22. Beyond Borders Malaysia
23. Blood Money Campaign
24. Bukluran ng Manggagawng Pilipino (BMP/Solidarity of Filipino Workers)
25. Burma Action Ireland
26. Burma Campaign UK
27. Burma Task Force
28. Burmese American Millennials
29. Burmese Democratic Forces
30. Bytes For All, Pakistan
31. Center for Social Integrity
32. Center of Excellence on Women and Social Security, Walailak University, Thailand
33. Centre for Human Rights and Development
34. Centre for Inclusive Governance, Peace and Justice
35. Centre for Peace and Justice, Brac University
36. Chin Leaders of Tomorrow (CLT)
37. Citizenship Affected Peoples’ Network CAPN – Nepal
38. Community Initiatives for Development in Pakistan
39. Crane Center for Mass Atrocity Prevention
40. Dalit Foundation
41. Deep Germany
42. East Yangon University Legal Information Center
43. Equal Asia Foundation (Stichting EqualA Foundation)
44. Equality Bahamas
45. Europe solidaire sans frontières (ESSF), France
46. European Karen Network
47. European Rohingya Council
48. FIDH – International Federation for Human Rights
49. Fondazione Pangea
51. Foundation for Labour and Employment Promotion
52. Free Burma Action Bay/USA/Global
53. Free Myanmar Campaign USA/BACI
54. Freedom for Burma
55. Freedom, Justice, Equality for Myanmar
56. Fresh Eyes, United Kingdom
57. Fund for Congolese Women
58. Gaston Z Ortigas Peace Institute (Philippines)
59. Genocide Watch
60. Global DEEP Network
61. Global Justice Center
62. Global Movement for Myanmar Democracy (GM4MD)
63. Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC)
64. Globe International Center, Mongolia
65. Hope Revival Organization
66. HRM “Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan”
67. Human right organization
68. ICR / No Business with Genocide / Campaign for a New Myanmar
69. In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND)
70. Initiative to Promote Tolerance and Prevent Violence (INITIATE.MY)
71. Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID)
72. Institute for Asian Democracy
73. Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies
74. International Association of People’s Lawyers
75. International Center on Conflict and Negotiation (ICCN)
76. International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN)
77. International Karen Organization
78. International Peace Bureau (IPB)
79. International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific
80. Iraqi Women Network
81. Islamic Renaissance Front
82. Justice Base
83. Justice4Rohingya UK
84. Karen Community of Canada
85. Karen Human Rights Group
86. Karen Organization of America
87. Karen Peace Support Network
88. Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law
89. LA Rohingya Association/America Rohingya Justice Network
90. Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada
91. Loka Ahlinn (LA)
92. Madaripur Legal Aid Association (MLAA)
93. Mandalay Federalism Institute
94. Manushya Foundation
95. Maramagri Youth Network
97. Mercy Corps
98. Middle East Nonviolence and Democracy (MEND)
99. Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute Foundation, Inc.
100.Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers, International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL)
101.Montréal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies
102.Myanmar Advocacy Coalition
103.Myanmar Student Community – Thailand
105.National Domestic Woman Workers Union
106.Nationalities Alliance of Burma USA
107.Never Again Coalition
108.Nobel Women’s Initiative
109.Nonviolence International – Ukraine
110.Novelita V. Palisoc
111.Office of Nobel Laureate and former President
113.Pacific Conference of Churches
114.Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum
115.Pakistan Rural Workers Social Welfare Organization
116.Participatory Research & Action Network- PRAAN
117.Pathways for Women’s Empowerment and Development (PaWED)
118.Pax Romana Delegate at UNO Vienna
119.Peace and Security Cluster, AEPF
120.Peace Track Initiative
121.Peace Women Partners, Inc.
123.People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD)
124.Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia (GERAK)
125.Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
126.Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
127.Psychological Responsiveness NGO
128.Public Association “Dignity”
129.Rakhine Ethnics Congress
131.Rockflower Partners Inc.
132.Rohingya Action Ireland
133.Salam for Democracy and Human Rights
136.Shan Women’s Action Network
137.Sisters of Charity Federation
138.Sitt Nyein Pann Foundation
139.Sokhany Prak from Cambodian Civil Society Partnership (CCSP)
140.Southeast Asia Conflict Studies Network (SEACSN)
141.Southeast Asian Women Peacebuilders Network (SEAWP)
142.Spring Revolution Interfaith Network
143.Students for Free Burma
144.Support the Democracy Movement in Burma
145.Textile Garment Federation
146.The Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN) – Indonesia
147.The Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Women Division
149.U.S. Campaign for Burma
150.UNI GLOBAL UNION – Asia and Pacific
151.Uni Sri Lanka Affiliate Council Women’s Committee.
152.Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA
153.Verein zur Förderung der Völkerverständigung (VFV)
154.Visionary Foundation Pakistan
155.Voices From Friends
156.Vrede vzw (Belgium)
157.WiLDAF-Afrique de l’Ouest
158.Women Activists Myanmar
159.Women Alliance Burma
160.Women Advocacy Coalition Myanmar
161.Women Education Development Organization of Liberia
162.Women’s Aid Organisation
163.Women’s League of Burma
164.Women’s Peace Network
165.Women’s Refugee Commission
166.Women’s Rehabilitation Centre (WOREC)
167.World Federalist Movement/Institute for Global Policy
168.YLBHI/Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation
169.Young Pride Club
170.Youth Core Group on Atrocity Prevention
*447 Myanmar organizations have signed our letter anonymously due to security concerns.
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