37 WOMEN RAPED, OVER 25,000 DISPLACED IN KACHIN STATE

08 October 2011:

Since the start of ‘armed conflicts’ in Kachin State on 9 June, 37 women and girls were recorded being raped with 13 of them killed by Burma Army soldiers, a new report revealed.

The report released yesterday by the Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand (KWAT) said Thein Sein’s government has deliberately targeted civilians in its attacks against Kachin resistance forces, displacing over 25,000 people.

Shirley Seng, KWAT spokesperson, said: “Our documentation team was deeply shocked at the details of these crimes. Some women were gang-raped in front of their families. In one case, soldiers slaughtered a woman’s grandchild in front of her before raping and killing her, too.”

On September 24, three separate rape incidents by Burma Army troops occurred in Muse and Kutkai townships, Shan State, involving two girls, aged 14 and 17, and one woman, aged 40, according to the report Burma’s Covered Up War: Atrocities Against the Kachin People.

The situation has got ‘worse’ after the new government increased its military offensive last month, deploying over 1,000 troops from nine battalions to seize Kachin strongholds in northern Shan State, the report added.

Over 25,000 villagers already sheltering in makeshift camps along the Kachin-China border are facing severe shortages of food and medicine, as the regime has blocked agencies working officially inside Burma from assisting them.

KWAT is urging the international community to abandon its “wait and see” policy with Burma, bring increased pressure on the regime to end its military offensives and atrocities, and provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance to the displaced Kachins.

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