Sexual Violence in Burma

Burma Campaign UK is deeply concerned that G8 Foreign Ministers meeting today appear to be prioritising trade opportunities with Burma, rather than ending rape and sexual violence committed by Burmese government forces.

The Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) is top of the agenda for G8 Foreign Ministers. However, Burma is not one of the countries included in PSVI. Instead, discussion on Burma will focus on proposals by the Government of Burma for responsible investment.

Reports of rape and sexual violence by government forces have increased since Thein Sein became President in 2011. Women’s organisations and human rights organisations have documented increased use of rape by government forces in Shan State, Kachin State and Rakhine State.  The United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in Burma has highlighted on-going sexual violence in his recent reports, and the United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution on Burma, passed last month, also called for an end to ‘rape and other forms of sexual violence.’

Despite this, G8 Foreign Ministers seem likely to be silent about sexual violence in Burma, while focussing instead on a non-binding responsible investment initiative, which at the moment seems more like a public relations exercise for companies worried about the risk to their reputation from investing in Burma.

“It is incredible that at a G8 Foreign Ministers’ meeting where ending sexual violence is the priority, ministers will sit with Burma government officials to discuss trade, not sexual violence,” said Zoya Phan, Campaigns Manager at Burma Campaign UK. “Sadly this is another example of how trade with Burma, not human rights, is becoming the priority for the international community.”

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