RANGOON — A total of 125 rape cases were reported in January across Burma, including 81 rape cases involving children, according to police records.
State media reported on Wednesday that in Rangoon, there were a total of 25 rape cases, 20 of which concerned the rape of underage victims.
In Irrawaddy Division, 21 rapes were reported, with 14 committed against minors.
Daw Kyi Pyar, a Rangoon regional lawmaker from Kyauktada Township, said that the high number of reported rapes could be attributed to increased public awareness of sexual abuse, and better access to legal advice due to the work of rights groups and legal aid organizations.
“Parents need to provide awareness to their kids, and courts also should make fair decisions by respecting rules and regulations,” she said, calling for offenders convicted of child rape to be sentenced to at least 20 years in prison.
Currently, the child rape cases are charged under Article 376 of Burma’s Penal Code, which states that offenders of rape cases “shall be punished with up to 20 years imprisonment or for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to a fine.”
The Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Minister U Win Myat Aye said last year in November that the ministry had revised the 1993 Child Law to increase the punishment for such offenses against minors.
The Child Law did not previously mention offenses or punishment regarding sexual abuse cases, the minister pointed out.
“In the recent revision we added a set punishment for child rape cases of 10 to 20 years, along with a fine,” U Win Myat Aye told The Irrawaddy.
A total of 1,100 rape cases were reported to authorities across Burma in 2016, with 671 of those crimes committed against minors.