Thematic Analysis: Women in Myanmar targeted by the military regime

November 25th is designated as “International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women”. On that day, civil society Organizations including Women’s Organizations from the International community expressed their desire to stop violence in various forms of activity. The movement against violence to stop women has been called for since 1981. Yet, according to the resolution of the 54th General Assembly of the United Nations on December 17th, 1999, November 25th was designated as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

The United Nations Charter and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) contain Articles 1-16 that define Violence against Women among the 30 Articles that member states must comply with. Myanmar signed the agreement in 1997 as one of the 189 countries that have signed an agreement to respect the laws included in CEDAW and take national measures. Myanmar’s handful of people who controlled the country’s power at that time only signed it to gain more international recognition. In reality, the discrimination against women not only in the mountainous ethnic areas but also in the mainland in Myanmar, physical and psychological violence, such as well-known incidents of arrests, rapes, detentions, and killings have not disappeared.

The situation is getting worse since the military regime coup on February 1st, 2021. Especially, women have been targeted attack after the coup. The various forms of violence against women are being perpetrated as a matter of military. On November 25th, Free Expression Myanmar (FEM) announced that the Myanmar military killed more than 300 women across the country within 21 months of the country’s seizure of power. Also, The Ministry of Women, Youth and Children’s Affairs of the National Unity Government of Myanmar (NUG) said that during the 21 months of the violent military coup, more than 370 women were killed, 3,385 were arrested, and 127 were reported to have been sexually assaulted across the country.

 In Shan State, a local female leader who is the founder of the Justice Movement for Community-Inlay based in the Inlay region of southern Shan State has an unlawful arrest warrant issued under Article (50) for protesting against the military coup. The women fleeing the war in the KNU-controlled areas of Karen State are often taken as hostages by the terrorist army. And the Karen Women’s Organization (KWO) said that “women were forced to carry 10-pound heavy packs”, as reported by Irrawaddy News Agency in May 2022.

On October 7th, 2022, at around 10:30 AM, Ma Tharaphu, age 22, was abducted by the joint forces of the military intelligence and pro-junta militia troops after a preliminary investigation, a local witness reported to the Human Rights Foundation of Monland. She was stopped, the troops checked her cell phone and arrested in Kyaukni Maw Village, Long Lon Township, Dawei District.In August, the terrorist army entered villages in Sagaing Region and raped 7 local women, including a woman with poor mental health, according to Burmese Women’s Union (BWU). On November 18, a woman over 80 years old did due to the burning of a village by the terrorist army. In addition, local news reported that a 50-year-old woman was hit by a weapon while fleeing the war. Therefore, the terrorist army commits brutally killing, arbitrary arrests and detentions against women. Moreover, the terrorist military perpetrated torture and sexual assault. Thus, such crimes must be repaid for justice when the democratically-elected government regains power.