Rights Group Blasts Police Inaction over Rape of 14-Year-Old IDP

By Lawi Weng 19 September 2018

A rights group has reported that the police in Nam Hpat Kar, a town in Kutkai Township near the Chinese border, have still not taken action against two men one month after they were accused of raping a 14-year-old student.

The Ta’ang Women’s Organization (TWO) released a statement on Tuesday describing the incident which occurred when two girls, aged 13 and 14 years old, went to bathe at a stream outside their village. When they were on their way home, two men attempted to kidnap them. The 13-year-old girl was able to escape, but the men captured and raped the older girl.

Both girls are of Ta’ang ethnicity and are living at an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in Mai Yu Lay, a village near Nam Hpat Kar. The rapists are both from the village.

“The girl could not walk for two days after she was raped as she had pain,” said Lway Che Sa Nga, a research assistant for the TWO.

Sai Lan Sai, 19, and his friend, whose name remains unknown but is said to be aged 21, have been accused of the rape.

Four women’s organizations and community leaders from the village reported the case at the police station in Nam Hpat Kar on August 16, asking the police to take action against the men.

The organizations, Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Network, TWO, the Kachin Women’s Organization, and the Shan Women’s Organization, have gotten involved in seeking justice for the victim and her family. The rights groups have said that one month later, police still have not taken action against the men.

“We have waited for a long time to see how the police would take action against [the accused] but we haven’t seen anything yet,” said Lway Che Sa Nga.

This has lead, she said, the organization to release the statement.

The victim’s family took the girl for a medical check in a Kutkai hospital, but the hospital authorities refused her, saying they couldn’t perform the check in their hospital. When the family traveled to a hospital in Lashio, the medical examination found evidence that the girl had been raped, according to Lway Che Sa Nga.

U Zaw Than, a police offer in Nam Hpat Kar, Kutkai Township said that his officers went to the homes of the accused men several times but that they were not at home and so have not been arrested.

“Whenever we went to check at their houses, their parents just told us that they were not at home. We even asked for their photos, but their parents did not give them to us,” said U Zaw Than.

He said that as the parents only spoke the Shan language, they did not understand what they said. The police report that they don’t know where the men are hiding.