Burma may save its tigers and not its women by Open Democracy

Cora Weiss reports on the International Tribunal on Crimes against Women of Burma – an overwhelming day of stories told by remarkable women of all ages of inhumanity leaving the listeners wondering how the women could have survived.

The World Bank is determined to play conservationist and protect the last of the 3200 wild tigers, down from 100,000 a century ago, most in Burma, but finds it is “shackled from doling out aid” to this South East Asian nation. But shackles also seem to be in place when it comes to a robust policy to demand freedom for Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, her National League for Democracy adherents and thousands of Burmese members of traditional ethnic groups jailed or abused following a democratically held election in May 1990 which gave her party 80% of parliamentary seats. The military coup following that election has left the natural resource wealthy country drowning in the most egregious human rights abuses including documented child soldiers, sexual violence, forced labour, slavery, destruction of entire villages of the many ethnic groups, extra judicial killings, over a million internally displaced persons and a record of being condemned for this by the UN for the past 15 years.

This is the background that led to the International Tribunal on Crimes against Women of Burma, held on March 2nd in New York City as one of nearly 200 parallel civil society sponsored events during the United Nations 54th Commission on the Status of Women annual conference.

Recommendations from the judges, Nobel Peace laureates, Jody Williams and Shirin Ebadi, Thai law Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn and Prof. Heisoo Shin of Korea’s Women’s University, include those to Burma’s military regime to:

STOP all forms of violence against women;
STOP attacks and persecution against ethnic nationalities and groups;

RELEASE immediately and unconditionally all political prisoners;
GRANT access to UN agencies and NGO humanitarian groups;
PROVIDE access to and cooperate with United Nations and human rights organizations to monitor human rights within Burma;
RATIFY all human rights treaties…;

To the Asia-Pacific region including ASEAN to:

IMPEL Burma to comply with the ASEAN Charter and international legal obligations and human rights standards;
INVITE the ASEAN Human Rights Commission to submit reports covering particular issues related to Burma;
SUPPORT the establishment of the ASEAN Commission for Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children, including consideration of the situation in Burma;

To the international community, particularly the United Nations, to:
URGE states to take collective action to ensure the implementation of SCRs 1325, 1820, 1888,and 1889 guaranteeing women’s full participation in post conflict reconstruction and freedom from all forms of sexual violence;

URGE the UN Security Council to refer Burma to the International Criminal Court,

To civil society to:

CONTINUE to actively engage with the peoples of Burma inside and outside the country and to mobilize public pressure at all levels to raise consciousness of the crimes and violations being committed by the Burmese military regime against the peoples of Burma, especially women and children. Continue reading “Burma may save its tigers and not its women by Open Democracy”