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Public Statements

Use of Rape as a Weapon of War is Wrong

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


USE OF RAPE AS A WEAPON OF WAR IS WRONG -- (Extensions of Remarks - April 21, 2004)

SPEECH OF HON. ELTON GALLEGLY OF CALIFORNIA
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TUESDAY, APRIL 20, 2004

Mr. GALLEGLY. Mr. Speaker, a recently released report has revealed yet more evidence of heinous human rights abuses committed by Burma's ruling military regime. The report by the Karen Women's Organization entitled "Shattering Silence" documents rapes of ethnic women by the regime's soldiers. If the allegations contained in the report are correct, the stories illustrate how Burma's regime uses rape to undercut resistance to its rule by attacking innocent and defenseless civilians.

I am especially horrified with evidence that over half of the rapes were committed by military officers, and 40 percent were gang-rapes. Reads one example: "While she was living in her village she was captured as the porter to carry shells for the SPDC. At daytime she was forced to carry heavy things and at night she was raped ..... She was raped every night by one to five persons. If she refused or asked them to not rape her, then they slapped her or beat her or closed her mouth ..... At that time they jumped on her body with their boots. While she was being raped at night she heard women shouting from other places. And so she knew there were many women suffering like her."

Furthermore, the report found that in 28 percent of the cases, the women were brutally killed and often mutilated after being raped by officers.

This is not the first time we have heard of the regime's use of rape as a weapon of war. This report supports previous evidence documented by the Shan Women's Action Network, Refugees International, and the Bureau of Democracy, Rights, and Labor at the State Department.

The use of rape as a weapon of war was wrong in Bosnia, and it is wrong in Burma. Burma's regime must be held to account, and their climate of impunity must end.

END

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