The military dictatorship that runs Myanmar recently denied accusations from a U.S.-based human rights group that its military uses rape systematically against women from ethnic groups that the government is fighting.
Refugees International released a report in early April documenting 43 rapes by the Myanmar military against ethnic women living along the Thailand-Myanamar border. Refugees International spokeswoman Veronika Martin told Agence-France Presse,
Rape is widespread and committed with impunity, both by officers and lower ranking soldiers. The culture of impunity contributes to an atmosphere in which rape is permissible.
The Myanmar government replied that while individuals soldiers may be involved in isolated instances of rape,
But ‘systematically using rape as a weapon of war’ is just too ridiculous and these organizations that are putting out such preposterous allegations need to be reminded that the Myanmar Defense Forces also comprises ethnic [minorities] . . .
However, AFP notes that in May 2002 two Thailand-based human rights groups documented a total of 625 rapes of ethnic minority women by members of the Myanmar military from 1996-2001. The U.S. State Department reported in December that it found evidence corroborating those claims of systematic rape.
Myanmar rejects latest US rape accusation. Agence-France Presse, April 7, 2003.
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