Hold military accountable for violence against women

Open Letter
en es

March 22, 2021

Re: Hold Myanmar military accountable for violence against women

Dear President and Members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council,

Marking the 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, we, Women’s Peace Network, and the undersigned organizations working for women’s rights and against gender-based violence, call upon the UN Security Council to hold the Myanmar military accountable for grievously violating the human rights of women. Since the military’s illegitimate seizure of power on February 1, the people of Myanmar have led nationwide mass movements to demand for the November 2020 election results to be respected, the 2008 Constitution to be abolished, a federal democratic union to be built with full equality and self-determination, and those arbitrarily detained and arrested to be released. Despite engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience, thousands of civilians, including women, have been brutally assailed by the regime’s tactics of violent assault, arbitrary detention, and extrajudicial killing. Given this military’s record of using sexual violence as a weapon of war, we fear that the country’s progress in enhancing the status of women is at risk now more than ever. We, members of the global women’s rights movement, now urgently join forces to amplify the people’s calls: the Myanmar military and security forces must be held to account for their brutality, and all impunity fueling their historical violation of women’s rights and international laws and norms must end.

Across Myanmar, the military continue to act in violation of the UN Charter and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. In over a month, the Myanmar military and security forces have indiscriminately fired live ammunition at peaceful protesters — killing at least 20 women. Deploying armored vehicles along the country’s streets, male security forces have targeted women with batons and slingshots all while strategically wielding water cannons, tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber bullets against other peaceful protesters. Throughout states and regions, the regime’s arbitrary detention and arrests of civilians have continued to rise as allegations of sexual assault and abuse across prisons have spread rampantly. If the Security Council and the international community do not take concrete action, we are concerned that the Myanmar military and security forces will continue to commit mass atrocities and act in contravention of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.

We would like to express our sincere appreciation to the member states for enforcing targeted measures against the Myanmar military and security forces. The Security Council’s intervention is crucial for ensuring that these measures have their intended effect of putting an end to the military’s arbitrary violence against its own people. Over the past several decades, the military junta has tortured and killed the country’s ethnic minorities to consolidate its power nationwide, and perpetrated sexual and gender-based violence against women as a tactic of repression. As reported by the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar in 2019, countless Rohingya women were subjected to rape, mass gang rape, sexually humiliating acts, sexual slavery, and sexual mutilations during the military’s “clearance operations” — amounting to crimes against humanity and genocide — across 2012, 2016, and 2017. Yet to be held accountable for these atrocities, the military has interpreted the international community’s lack of a unified and comprehensive response as a license to intensify their abusive practices against the country’s most vulnerable. We are now asking you to take all necessary measures against the Myanmar military, in order to break the cycles of violence and abuse that have gone on for too long.

We, the undersigned organizations, urge the UN Security Council to hold the Myanmar military and security forces accountable by adopting a resolution to:

1. Refer the situation of Myanmar to the International Criminal Court in order hold the Myanmar military and security forces to account, under international law, for committing crimes, including rape and sexual violence.
2. Dispatch a monitoring and mediation body to Myanmar in response to the Myanmar military and security forces’ increasing use of violence against peaceful protesters, including women.
3. Impose targeted economic sanctions and financial penalties and restrictions on the junta leadership and businesses that are owned and controlled by the Myanmar military.
4. Impose a comprehensive and global arms embargo on Myanmar.

We thank you for your leadership and attention to this matter.

Signed by:

1. African Women 4 Empowerment e.V.
2. Akahatá
3. Aliran
4. Alliance for Gender Inclusion in the Peace Process
5. Alliance of Democracies Foundation
6. ALTSEAN-Burma
7. Articulación Feminista Marcosur
8. Asha Parivar
9. Asia Democracy Network
10. Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development
11. Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants
12. Asian Migrants Centre
13. Asian Migrants Coordinating Body
14. Asian Muslim Action Network
15. Association for Women’s Rights in Development
16. Association of War Affected Women
17. Aware Girls
18. AZ ZAHARA Women Group
19. Bayan Hong Kong and Macau
20. Beyond Borders Malaysia
21. Building and Wood Workers’ International Asia-Pacific Regional Women’s Committee
22. California National Organization for Women
23. CEDAW Action Myanmar
24. Center for Prisoners’ Rights
25. Center for Trade Union and Human Rights Philippines
26. Center of Excellence on Women and Social Security, Walailak University of Thailand
27. Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy
28. Citizen News Service
29. Civicus
30. Collective for Research and Training on Development Action
31. Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
32. Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd
33. Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces
34. Congregation of St. Joseph
35. Congregation of the Mission
36. Covenants Watch
37. Edmund Rice International
38. Elman Peace Center
39. Empatiku Foundation, Indonesia
40. EMPOWER Malaysia
41. Enlightened Myanmar Research Foundation
42. Equality Bahamas
43. EuroMed Feminist Initiative
44. European Coalition-Global Refugee Led Network
45. Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas
46. Feminist Alliance for Rights
47. Feminist Task Force "Gender Equality to End Poverty"
48. Feministischer Streik Darmstadt
49. Fiji Women’s Rights Movement
50. Filipino Migrant Workers Union
51. Flora Tristán
52. FOKUS – Forum for Women and Development
53. Fondazione Pangea Onlus-REAMA Network
54. Forum for Dignity Initiatives Pakistan
55. Frauen für den Frieden Berlin
56. Fund for Congolese Women
57. Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer
58. GABRIELA Hong Kong
59. Gender Equality Network
60. Global Interfaith Network
61. Global Justice Center
62. Global Network of Sex Work Projects
63. Global Network of Women Peacebuilders
64. Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict - Southeast Asia
65. Hope Revival Organization
66. Human Rights Watch
67. Initiatives for International Dialogue
68. Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Loreto Generalate
69. Inter Pares
70. International Alliance of Women
71. International Civil Society Action Network
72. International Domestic Workers Federation
73. International Federation for Human Rights
74. International Presentation Association
75. International Trade Union Confederation
76. International Trade Union Confederation-Asia Pacific
77. International Trade Union Confederation-Asia Pacific Women’s Committee
78. International Transport Workers’ Federation
79. International Union of Food Workers Asia/Pacific Regional Organization
80. International Women’s Development Agency
81. International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific
82. Internet Law Reform Dialogue
83. Iraqi Al-Amal Association
84. Iraqi Women Network
85. Justice for Iran
86. Justice for Peace Foundation
87. Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand
88. Karen Women’s Organization
89. Kuki Women’s Human Rights Organization
90. L’Association Djazairouna
91. La Federación Internacional De Abogadas USA
92. Leadership Conference of Women Religious
93. League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran
94. League of Women Voters of the United States
95. Let’s Breakthrough, Inc.
97. Maldivian Democracy Network
98. Manushya Foundation
99. Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
100. Mercy International Association - Global Action
101. Millennium Sistahs T&T
102. Mon Women Organisation
104. Naripokkho
105. National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
106. National Domestic Women Workers Federation
107. National Fisheries Solidarity Organization
108. National Organization for Women
109. National Women Farmers and Workers Association, Bangladesh
110. Nationality is a Right for Me and My Family Campaign
111. Network for Solidarity, Empowerment and Transformation for All
112. Network of Domestic Workers in Thailand
113. Network of Migrant Domestic Workers in Thailand
114. Network of NGOS of Trinidad and Tobago for the Advancement of Women
115. New Women Connectors
116. Ninu Chin Women Group
117. Nobel Women’s Initiative
118. Odhikar, Bangladesh
119. Operation 1325
120. OutRight Action International
121. Passionists International
122. Pax Christi International
123. Pax Romana
124. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
125. Project SEVANA South-East Asia
126. Public Services International, Asia Pacific Regional Office
127. Punjab Women Collective
128. Rainfall Feminist Women Group
129. Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary NGO
130. Rohingya Women Empowerment and Advocacy Network
131. RW Welfare Society - RWWS
132. Servas International
133. Sindh Nari Purhiat Council [Sindh Women Workers’ Council], Pakistan
134. Sisters of Charity Federation
135. Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Office of Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation
136. Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Congregational Leadership
137. Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Western Province Leadership
138. Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill Generalate
139. Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, Korean Province
140. Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, United States Province
141. Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur
142. Somos la mitad, queremos paridad sin acoso - Perú
143. Suara Rakyat Malaysia
144. Synergie des Femmes pour les Victimes des Violences Sexuelles
145. Tavoy Women’s Union
146. The Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women
147. The International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism
148. The Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders
149. U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph
150. UNANIMA International
151. UNI Apro Women
152. United Domestic Workers of the Philippines
153. United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-Migrante-HK)
154. Urgent Action Funds
155. Verein zur Förderung der Völkerverständigung
156. Vietnam Committee for Human Rights
157. VIVAT International
158. VOICE
159. Voice for Change, Papua New Guinea
160. We women foundation International, The Netherlands
161. We women foundation, Myanmar
162. We Women Lanka Network
163. WIN-Peace
164. Women Against Violence Europe
165. Women and Harm Reduction International Network
166. Women and Media Collective
167. Women Development Society
168. Women for Justice Foundation - Canada
169. Women for Peace and Justice
170. Women Graduates-USA
171. Women in Governance (WinG)-India
172. Women in Law and Development in Africa
173. Women in Response to Aids and Drug Addiction
174. Women Working for Social Progress
175. Women’s Committee of the Federation of Hotel, Restaurant, Plaza, Catering,
Apartment and Tourism - Indonesia
176. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
177. Women’s International Peace Centre
178. Women’s Network for Peace, Germany / Frauennetzwerk für Frieden e.V.
179. Women’s Peace Network
180. Women’s Refugee Commission
181. Women’s Organizations Network Myanmar
182. Women Peacekeepers (WePeace) Philippines

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