Myanmar Rights Groups Call on Junta Rape Victims to Report Violations

By The Irrawaddy 10 November 2022

Two rights groups in Myanmar are urging survivors of the junta’s sexual violence to report violations to provide evidence for future prosecutions.

The Assistance Association For Political Prisoners (AAPP) and Women’s League of Burma (WLB) said in a joint statement on Wednesday that survivors must be heard with dignity and the junta’s crimes recorded.

The two rights groups quoted a political prisoner who said he was raped by soldiers and criminals in May 2021.

Ko Kyaw Kyaw was a first-year university student before leading protests in Yangon after the February 2021 coup. He was seized during a peaceful flash-mob protest, tied to a chair and beaten during interrogation.

A junta commander slapped and kicked Ko Kyaw Kyaw and broke his fingers while he held a knife to his neck.

A cigarette was pushed in his ear, permanently damaging his hearing.

When they discovered Ko Kyaw Kyaw was homosexual, he was told: “There are criminals who want to have sex with you.”

Ko Kyaw Kyaw said he was handcuffed in a cell with three criminals and two soldiers.

One of the criminals reportedly anally raped him, leaving him bleeding and the other four forced him to perform sex acts on them.

He was forced to stay in the cell with the rapists before being transferred to the Shwe Pyithar interrogation center the next morning.

He would be tortured for two more days using inhumane techniques that have been reported by other witnesses to the AAPP, WLB and other human rights groups.

U Kyaw Kyaw is now safe and says he wants justice.

“I want rights for everyone regardless of religion, color and gender. I want a good education system for all citizens and proper democracy,” said Ko Kyaw Kyaw.

AAPP secretary U Tate Naing said: “The people deserve justice and dignity after suffering human rights violations. We want the regime leaders and rights violators to know that in the future – in a free and federal Burma – they will be held to account for their crimes.”

The revolution has exposed many prejudices and discrimination and there is now more recognition of minority and LGBT+ rights, according to U Bo Kyi, another AAPP secretary.

“Women and LGBT+ people are increasingly accepted as revolutionaries. Male rape survivors are breaking barriers by speaking out about their experiences and the cruelties of the junta,” said U Bo Kyi.

Myanmar’s military has used sexual violence as a weapon with impunity for decades, according to a WLB spokeswoman.

“As long as these crimes continue to be perpetrated with impunity, our society will never achieve genuine peace. Every perpetrator of sexual violence must face justice. Action must be taken and there must be accountability,” she said.

Political prisoners from pro-democracy uprisings, such as in 1988 and 2007, endured rape and other forms of sexual violence, including male detainees, she said.

In December 2021, a male journalist from Frontier Myanmar was beaten and raped by regime soldiers during interrogation after being detained at Yangon International Airport.

The Office of the Chief of Military Security Affairs and its commander Lieutenant General Ye Win Oo are blamed for a large proportion of the abuse during interrogation.

A woman from Letyat Kone village in Depayin Township, Sagaing Region, was allegedly raped before being killed by junta troops in September.

Six women, aged between 25 and 40, were allegedly raped by soldiers during a village raid in Kani Township, Sagaing Region, on August 28.