TEMPO.CO, Chiang Mai - Myanmar women on an online conference today, April 8, shared how the human rights situation is deteriorating in the country with continuous military offensives in ethnic areas, with recent airstrikes in Karen State and fighting in Kachin and Shan states. Since illegitimately claiming control of the country’s affairs on February 1, the armed and security forces of the military coup council have waged violence against peacefully protesting civilians across the country.
"In a country that has experienced over 70 years of civil war, the abuse of power by the military is nothing new, especially for ethnic people who have been oppressed by the state for years," said the General Secretary of Women’s League of Burma (WLB) on April 8. In the past two months, the Southeast Asian country has turned into a pool of blood as the world is watching and the military regime has continued committing all arbitrary acts of violence and atrocities with impunity, they explained, adding that at least 43 women and girls have been killed.
According to the representative of Karen Women’s Organisation (KWO), besides the urban areas, the military is also launching air attacks and bombing the villages in Karen State that have displaced thousandsof people. At least 14 people were killed and 40 more were injured, including women and children.
A representative of Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand (KWAT) said that the military coup will have the deepest impact on those who are already marginalised due to the decades of civil war and ongoing human rights violations committed by Burmese military. The humanitarian aid must be closely monitored to ensure that it benefits the conflict-affected ethnic communities and not the military, said the KWAT representative. "At the same time, they need to make sure that all women and girls get access to basic reproductive health services.”
A state has the obligation to protect its own people and this responsibility is clearly failing in Myanmar. Therefore, the Regional Coordinator of Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), Misun Woo, calls on the international community to immediately exercise its universal, collective responsibility to protect the peoples of Burma from the ongoing state-sponsored ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
"Only then it will be proved how committed the UN and its member states are to the fundamental principles and purposes of the UN Charter. We need international solidarity – and your action counts,” said Woo in a statemet released on April 8.
The women came together for a call for collective action from the international community to immediately dispatch a well-equipped monitoring and intervention mission to Myanmar. It is to end the state sponsored human rights violations being perpetrated against civilians exercising their rights to peaceful assembly.
They also asked the international community to institute a comprehensive global arms embargo on Myanmar to end the direct and indirect supply sale or transfer of all weapons and other military equipment that may be used for training, intelligence and military assistance.
Finally, the women asked the global community to refer Military coup council members and personnel to the ICC for their mass atrocities against peaceful protesters, ethnic Kachin, Karen, Shan, Rohingya, Rakhine and other civilians.
APWLD | LA