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The Women’s League of Burma Presentation By Thin Thin Aung Gender Justice Dialogue Mexico, April 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "The Women’s League of Burma Presentation By Thin Thin Aung Gender Justice Dialogue Mexico, April 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Women’s League of Burma Presentation By Thin Thin Aung Gender Justice Dialogue Mexico, April 2010

2 Facts about Burma Series of military regimes ruling since 1962 Series of military regimes ruling since 1962 One of the world’s Least Developed Countries. One of the world’s Least Developed Countries.

3 Cont. Size of army – nearly half a million Size of army – nearly half a million total of over 500 battalions in Burma total of over 500 battalions in Burma More than 40% of GDP used on army More than 40% of GDP used on army Less than 1% on health and education Less than 1% on health and education

4 More troops mean More troops mean More human rights violations

5 Systematic human rights abuses Committed by the regime’s troops documented by international human rights organisations and the UN Including: forced labour, forced portering forced relocation confiscation of lands and crops arbitrary arrest and detention extrajudicial killing torture Rape as a strategy of war

6 To Escape war crimes and crimes against humanity several million people particularly from ethnic nationalities area have fled their homes, to become Internally Displaced Persons Internally Displaced Persons Refugees Refugees Migrant Workers Migrant Workers

7 Crimes against humanity

8 Result : Fleeing to neighboring countries Result : Fleeing to neighboring countries

9 estimated around 470,000 Internally Displaced Persons in Burma

10 over 130,000 refugees in camps

11 around 2 million migrant workers from Burma in Thailand alone

12 Women refugees & exiles Despite the limited resources, limitations living as refugees & in stateless situations with lack of legal status in neighbouring countries……

13 Refugee/exiled women have formed women's groups along Burma's borders 1. To address the needs of their communities 2. To advocate for political change in Burma

14 Women’s organizations 25 organizations to date around Burma’s borders 25 organizations to date around Burma’s borders most with a strong focus on women's human rights, gender equality & women's participation in decision– making processes most with a strong focus on women's human rights, gender equality & women's participation in decision– making processes

15 9 December 1999 First umbrella organization for women‘s groups from Burma was founded.

16 The Women’s League of Burma (WLB)

17 Ongoing tasks of women’s groups Educating ourselves – skills trainings, languages, confidence building – in order to address community needs Educating ourselves – skills trainings, languages, confidence building – in order to address community needs Advocating for peace, to put an end to war crimes Advocating for peace, to put an end to war crimes Working towards genuine political reform and national reconciliation Working towards genuine political reform and national reconciliation

18 WLB Programs WLB Programs Strategy Capacity DevelopmentAdvocacy Peace- Building and Reconciliation Program Women Against Violence Program Political Empowerment Program

19 Since 2002 Women’s organizations have documented hundreds of cases of rape and other forms of sexual violence committed by the regime’s troops Women’s organizations have documented hundreds of cases of rape and other forms of sexual violence committed by the regime’s troops System of Impunity

20 Women’s organizations from Shan, Karen, Chin and Mon States have given evidence of military rape Women’s organizations from Shan, Karen, Chin and Mon States have given evidence of military rape

21 Such abuses are very shameful in Burma and it has taken a long time for women and girls to gather the courage to speak out about what has happened to them. Such abuses are very shameful in Burma and it has taken a long time for women and girls to gather the courage to speak out about what has happened to them.

22 Nationwide military rape in Burma All the ethnic states All the ethnic states Central areas of Burma Central areas of Burma

23 Sexual violence against women an integral part of the military regime’s strategy: to control the people to control the people to intimidate and humiliate the civilian population to intimidate and humiliate the civilian population

24 Women live in constant fear of rape and other abuses Regime has denied the reports of rape. Regime has denied the reports of rape. Regime claims that they have brought peace and stability to Burma Regime claims that they have brought peace and stability to Burma

25 WLB’s advocacy work Issues Refugees & Internally Displaced People Refugees & Internally Displaced People Migrant Workers Migrant Workers Trafficking Trafficking Violence against Women Violence against Women Political Prisoners Political Prisoners Women Human Rights Defenders Women Human Rights Defenders Women’s political participation Women’s political participation

26 At the grassroots level At the grassroots level At the international level At the international level e.g. – UNGA, UNSCR 1325 lobby Week, CSW etc…

27 CEDAW Shadow Report WLB has produced a CEDAW shadow report WLB has produced a CEDAW shadow report WLB has attended the 42 nd CEDAW Session in Geneva, and used the report to lobby the CEDAW Committee WLB has attended the 42 nd CEDAW Session in Geneva, and used the report to lobby the CEDAW Committee

28 Recent Advocacy International Tribunal on Crimes against Women of Burma jointly organized with the Nobel Women’s Initiatives International Tribunal on Crimes against Women of Burma jointly organized with the Nobel Women’s Initiatives

29 Conclusion Despite growing international awareness of the problem of Burma, Despite growing international awareness of the problem of Burma, the regime’s troops are still committing state-sponsored human rights violations systematically and with impunity. the regime’s troops are still committing state-sponsored human rights violations systematically and with impunity.

30 Because…. various countries in the world and particularly in Asia are overlooking Burma’s crimes against humanity in favor of their own political and economic agendas

31 WLB’s calls The international community must act now to prevent further abuses We urge the UN and international governments To continue supporting our movement and our advocacy efforts for peace and democracy in Burma To continue supporting our movement and our advocacy efforts for peace and democracy in Burma

32 Cont. To call for International Arms Embargo on Burma To call for International Arms Embargo on Burma To reject the regime-organized elections To reject the regime-organized elections To form Commission of Inquiry to investigate CAH and War Crimes in Burma. To form Commission of Inquiry to investigate CAH and War Crimes in Burma. To refer Burma to the ICC To refer Burma to the ICC

33 Thank You


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