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Myanmar military must be held accountable for violence against women

24 Mar 2021

The ITF has joined 181 global women’s rights organisations in urging the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to hold the Myanmar military junta to account.

In an open letter, the organisations highlighted the Myanmar military’s history of violence against the country’s various ethnic communities, including sexual violence against women, and expressed concern that progress on women’s rights would be lost after February’s coup.

The letter coincides with the 65th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York, whose theme is the equal participation of women in public life and decision making, and the elimination of violence against women.

The organisations implored the UNSC impose targeted economic sanctions on the junta leadership and businesses with links to the military, as well as a global arms embargo. They also urged the UNSC to adopt a resolution referring the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court and to dispatch a monitoring and mediating body to the country.

Across Myanmar, the military continue to violate the UN Charter and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Since the coup, the Myanmar military and security forces have indiscriminately fired live ammunition at peaceful protesters, killing at least 21 women, most recently a seven-year-old girl. The junta’s arbitrary detention and arrests of civilians have continued to rise, accompanied by allegations of sexual and gender-based violence.

“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,” the organizations said.

In February, the ITF and nine other Global Unions urged unions around the world to increase pressure on governments and corporations to isolate Myanmar’s military junta.