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It's Time for the United Nations to Take Strong Action on Burma

The Women's League of Burma (WLB) joined by sixty four leading women’s organizations sent a letter
to the Secretary General and members of the United Nations Security Council calling for the
prosecution of Senior General Than Shwe at the International Criminal Court (ICC), and an immediate
end to the longstanding impunity that has been afforded to the brutal military junta in Burma.
The letter states that:
Well-documented reports of past violations, continued systematic repression, and an incapacitated
judicial system stand as solid witness to the necessity of strong international intervention. We call for
the UN Security Council to start with a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the horrific campaign of
terror by the military regime and to refer Senior General Than Shwe and his cronies to the
International Criminal Court for all crimes including for the imprisonment of Nobel Laureate Daw
Aung San Suu Kyi in violation of international law.
The Secretary General's historic Report on July 15, 2009 on Security Council resolution 1820
makes clear that gender crimes by the military in Burma are covered by the firm legal mandates of
Security Council resolution 1820. These include the rights to criminal accountability, the
prohibition of any amnesty for the military, and in this case an ICC referral.
The report discusses Burma in four places and these words speak volumes.
At page 7:
In Myanmar, recent concern has been expressed at discrimination against the minority Muslim
population of Northern Rakhine State and their vulnerability to sexual violence, as well as the high
prevalence of sexual violence perpetrated against rural women from the Shan, Mon, Karen, Palaung and
Chin ethnic groups by members of the armed forces and at the apparent impunity of the perpetrators.
At page 9:
In Myanmar, women and girls are fearful of working in the fields or traveling unaccompanied,
given regular military checkpoints where they are often subject to sexual harassment.
At page 10:
Furthermore, in countries such as Afghanistan, Côte d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the
Congo, Iraq, Kosovo, Liberia, Myanmar, Nepal, Sierra Leone, the Sudan and Timor-Leste, the
effective administration of justice is hampered not only by a lack of capacity, but also by the fact that
some justice officials do not give serious consideration to reports of sexual violence.
At page 12:
In Myanmar, although there has been documentation and identification of military personnel who
have committed sexual violence, including relevant dates and battalion numbers, disciplinary or
criminal action is yet to be taken against the alleged perpetrators.
P.O Box. 413 G P O Chiang Mai 50000 Thailand [email protected]
Accordingly, UN Security Council resolution 1820 affirms the urgent need to end impunity and protect
civilians in conflict and post conflict situations. Impunity for sexual violence committed during conflict
perpetuates impunity and WLB calls on the Security Council to act on the mandate of UN Security
Council resolution 1820 and halt the systemic use of rape and other sex crimes against the ethnic
women of Burma who have been brutalized for decades with no redress or reparations.
This letter is being issued to coincide with the open debates at the Security Council on the Secretary
General’s Report, and underscores that for the women of Burma debate must lead to immediate
action and the only access for justice for them is the ICC.
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