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UN blacklists Myanmar military for sexual violence

  • Published at 06:25 pm April 14th, 2018
UN blacklists Myanmar military for sexual violence
The Myanmar Armed Forces have been blacklisted in a United Nations report, according to the Associated Press (AP). The report compiled by Secretary General Antonio Guterres lists the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Armed Forces) with other countries and rebel groups who are “credibly suspected” of using sexual assault, like rape, as a weapon of war. According to the report, international medical staff and others in Bangladesh have confirmed that many of the almost 700,000 Rohingya Muslims who fled from Myanmar "bear the physical and psychological scars of brutal sexual assault." According to Antonio Guterres, the assaults were allegedly perpetrated by Myanmar's armed forces "at times acting in concert with local militias, in the course of military 'clearance' operations in October 2016 and August 2017." He said: “The widespread threat and use of sexual violence was integral to this strategy, serving to humiliate, terrorize and collectively punish the Rohingya community, as a calculated tool to force them to flee their homelands and prevent their return. "Violence was visited upon women, including pregnant women, who are seen as custodians and propagators of ethnic identity, as well as on young children, who represent the future of the group. "This can be linked to an inflammatory narrative alleging that high fertility rates among the Rohingya represent an existential threat to the majority population." According to AP, the report will be a focus of the UN Security Council meeting Monday on preventing sexual violence in conflict, and it puts 51 government, rebel and extremist groups on the list. Guterres said, in the UN report, most victims are "politically and economically marginalized women and girls" concentrated in remote, rural areas with the least access to services that can help them, and in refugee camps and areas for the displaced. He said the effects of sexual violence could affect generations “as a result of trauma, stigma, poverty, poor health and unwanted pregnancy,” adding that many women, including Rohingya refugees, are unwilling to go back to locations they fled where forces including alleged perpetrators remain in control. Guterres reportedly lamented that "most incidents of mass rape continue to be met with mass impunity."
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