Human rights bodies call Myanmar to report rape cases

Rohinya Muslims are victims of mass gang rapes, killings, brutal beatings committed by Myanmar’s security personnel
ANKARA: Human rights groups on Thursday called on the Myanmar government to submit a report on the situation of women and girls from northern Rakhine state to the United Nations (UN).
Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Fortify Rights reminded the Myanmar government to submit the report which was requested by UN’s independent expert committee monitoring implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
The request by CEDAW was made in November calling the Myanmar government to submit its report on the situation of women and girls from northern Rakhine state by May 28.
Skye Wheeler, women’s rights emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch said that CEDAW rarely requests these types of report.
“The CEDAW committee’s rare request for Myanmar to report on sexual violence against Rohingya women and girls outside normal reporting procedures shows the extreme nature of the military’s mass atrocities,” she said.
“The government should cease its shameless denials and start openly cooperating with international monitors,” she added.
Matthew Smith, the chief executive officer at Fortify Rights, said that Myanmar’s security forces used sexual violence to “terrify” the Rohingya.
Smith said that Myanmar “repeatedly ignored international calls for information and access”.
“The CEDAW committee’s report request was an important step, but the UN should now ramp up its pressure on the government to end its atrocities against women and girls as well as its denials of abuses ever taking place,” he said.
– Joint report
HRW and Fortify Rights submitted a joint report to the CEDAW committee which includes cases of sexual violence against Rohingya Muslims committed by Myanmar’s security forces between 2016 and 2017.
The joint report shares hundreds of interviews with Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh, including 37 interviews with women and girls — all rape victims, mainly by gangs of uniformed soldiers.
The report also includes signs of gang rapes, biting, kicking, and other physical abuses.
One of the victims,– a 33-year-old Rohingya woman — speaks about the sexual violence and rape she faced.
“I was held down by six men and raped by five of them, first, [the soldiers] killed my brother.… [They] stuck a knife into my side and kept it there while the men were raping me. That was how they kept me in place… I was trying to move and [the wound] was bleeding more.”
– Ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims
Since Aug. 25, 2017, some 750,000 Rohingya, mostly children and women, have fled Myanmar after Myanmar forces began a crackdown on the minority Muslim community, according to Amnesty International.
At least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in Myanmar’s Rakhine state from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24, 2017, according to Doctors Without Borders.
In a report published last December, the global humanitarian group said the deaths of 71.7 percent or 6,700 Rohingya were caused by violence. They include 730 children below the age of 5.
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings — including of infants and young children — brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.–AA

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