by mizzima – Tuesday, 06 January 2009 15:06
New Delhi (Mizzima) – An ethnic Karen women’s group has condemned the Burmese Army for refusing to investigate the death of a seven-year old girl, whom the group allegedly said was raped and murdered by a soldier.
The Karen Women’s Organisation (KWO), a Thailand based organization, said a seven-year old girl in Ma Oo Bin village in Nyaunglebin district in central Burma’s Pegu division was found dead on December 28 with marks on her body showing she had been murdered after being raped.
“The girl was found dead the next morning after disappearing in the evening of December 27. And marks on her body revealed that she was murdered after being molested,” Blooming Night Zan, Assistant Secretary of the KWO said.
The KWO alleged that a soldier from the Burmese Army’s Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 350, which is based in the area, had murdered the girl after raping her.
“Elders saw the soldier coming to the village on December 27 evening and had seen him with the girl. And not long after they heard gun fire. The villagers said they heard the girl crying fro help,” Blooming Night Zan told Mizzima.
As villagers are terrorized by the sight of Burmese Army, the villagers had not dared to come to the rescue of the girl, Blooming Night Zan added.
But she said, the commander of the LIB-350 captain Thet Khaing, despite complaints by the villagers, had not taken any action or conducted an investigation into the rape and murder.
The KWO’s accusations, however, cannot be independently verified as it was not possible to reach villagers of Ma Oo Bin, who know of the rape and murder.
The Burmese Army, which has 400,000 soldiers, has time and again come under attack by human rights groups including the Human Rights Watch, condemning them of widely using systematic rape as a weapon to terrorize ethnic people living along the frontiers.
The Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), an advocacy group promoting human rights and democracy in Burma, in a statement on Monday condemned the Burmese Army for failing to conduct investigations over the death of the girl and to arrest the perpetrator and bring him to justice.
“Rape is systematic and widespread and used as a weapon of war by the Burmese Army throughout the country. This latest tragic case is an example of the culture of impunity reigning throughout the military regime,” Stuart Windsor, CSW’s National Director said.
“We strongly support the KWO’s call for the arrest and prosecution of those guilty of the murder and rape of this young child. We believe the regime in Burma is guilty of a wide range of crimes against humanity which should be investigated and brought before the International Criminal Court,” added Windsor.
According to KWO, the village of Ma Oo Bin is inhabited by ethnic Karen people, who were forcibly relocated from various parts of Karen state by the Burmese Army in their campaign against Karen guerillas fighting the junta. http://www.mizzima.com/news/inside-burma/1506-womens-group-call-for-investigation-into-girls-rape-and-murder.html