Two ethnic women from Myanmar testified at the Canadian Parliament on March 10, calling for Canadian pressure on the Myanmar government to end systematic human rights abuses, particularly sexual violence, by the Myanmar military, according to Inter Pares, a Canadian social justice organisation on March 11.
The two ethnic delegates were invited to testify before the Subcommittee on International Human Rights.
Speaking to MPs, they urged Canada to take the lead in calling for an investigation into human rights abuses in Myanmar, particularly military sexual violence. They also called for pressure on the Myanmar government to pull back troops from ethnic areas and begin political dialogue to end the civil war, the NGO said in a press release.
Ma Wahkushee Tenner of the Women’s League of Burma testified about the ongoing use of rape as a weapon of war by Myanmar government troops, citing reports by WLB which have documented well over 100 cases of sexual violence since the current government came to power in 2011.
Ma Jessica Nkhum of the Kachin Women’s Association Thailand, testified about the recent gang rape and killing of two volunteer Kachin teachers in northern Shan State on January 20, 2015.
She alleged torture had been used on local villagers to make them confess to the crime, and explained that the Myanmar military had threatened legal action against anyone accusing them of involvement.
Immediately responding to the testimony, MP Mr David Sweet tweeted “Witnesses reveal disturbing increase in violent and sexual human rights violations against women by the Burmese Army in rural Burma.”
Inter Pares, an international social justice organization, had invited the two women to Canada to participate in exchanges with people from other conflict-impacted countries, including Sudan and Colombia.