RANGOON, BURMA (BosNewsLife)– Villagers of the mainly Christian Karen minority in Burma on Monday, January 5, were mourning the death of a seven-year old girl who was raped and murdered by at least one government soldier, the latest in a series of sexual abuses of minorities in the country, investigators said.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a Britain-based rights group investigating the situation in the military-ruled Asian nation, said the girl was allegedly shot dead after she was raped on December 27 in her village of Ma Oo Bin, in Kyauk Kyi Township of Burma’s Nyaunglebin District.
It quoted the Karen Women’s Organisation (KWO) as saying that local villagers saw at least one soldier from Burma’s army “enter the village shortly beforehand, and then heard sounds of a girl crying out for help.”
The crying was allegedly silenced by “rifle shots.”
The girl’s parents and village leaders reported the case the following day to the local commander, identified as Captain Thet Khaing. “However, despite eye witness accounts no action has been taken,” CSW said.
The KWO and other rights activists have urged the government to immediately detain the perpetrator, “and for action to be taken against the commanding officer for failing to act.”
CSW’s National Director Stuart Windsor the case underscored that “Rape is systematic and widespread, used as a weapon of war by the Burma Army throughout the country,” which is also known as Myanmar.
“This latest tragic case is an example of the culture of impunity reigning throughout the military regime. We strongly support the KWO’s call for the arrest and prosecution of those guilty of the murder and rape of this young child.”
Windsor said his group believes,”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.”
Burmese officials have not commented. However the government has consistently denied reports of human rights abuses, acusing organizations making those claims of spreading “Western” and “American” propaganda.
This year marks the 14th anniversary of the house arrest of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, who has urged the Burmese military government to allow more political and religious freedom in the troubled nation. (With reporting by BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos).