Activists welcome UN pledge to end rape in conflict

Jun 23, 2008 (DVB), Following the adoption last week of a United Nations Security Council resolution on sexual violence as a weapon of war, women's rights activists hope it can afford some protection to women in Burma.

In adopting the resolution unanimously on 19 June, members of the Council condemned the use of sexual violence in conflict "as a tactic of war to humiliate, dominate, instil fear in, disperse and/or forcible relocate civilian members of a community or ethnic group".

The resolution called on all parties to armed conflicts to bring an immediate end to sexual violence and introduce positive measures to protect women and girls, including training troops and strengthening judicial procedures to bring an end to impunity for perpetrators of sexual violence.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said the problem of sexual violence during armed conflict had reached "unspeakable and pandemic proportions" in some countries, and announced that he would appoint a UN envoy on the issue of violence against women.

Thin Thin Aung, joint general secretary of the Women’s League for Burma, welcomed the resolution.

"This is a huge support and an encouragement for women across the world who have been victims of sexual violations," she said.

Thin Thin Aung said her organisation hope that the Security Council resolution would result in stronger action against sexual violence by the military in Burma.

"The WLB hopes this resolution will also take full effect in Burma as a number of reports have emerged on Burma saying that the military government was using systematic rape as a tactic of war , these reports have been on the desk of the UNSC for a while," Thin Thin Aung said.

"But the issue has never been brought to a conclusion as the member countries of the UNSC never managed to come up with an agreement," she went on.

"But now the UNSC has adopted this resolution it will make it difficult for other UN member countries to disobey the regulations.

"We will collect strong evidence of the rape crimes committed against ethnic women across Burma in order to bring the culprits before the criminal courts."

Reporting by Aye Nai

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