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Sexually Abused Children in Burma and the Migrant Communities of Thailand

Sexually Abused Children in Burma and the Migrant Communities of Thailand

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Published by Jutta Pflueg
Harming the Young: Sexually Abused Children in Burma and the Migrant Communities of Thailand
October 3, 2009
WCRP:
Introduction
Burma’s military junta, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) is notorious for its oppression of the democratic opposition led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and for human rights violations against ethnic nationalities who participate in liberation movements. In response to these violations and constant suppression, citizens are continually fleeing Burma.
There are over 1 million Burmese migrants working illegally and unsafely in Thailand1. Nearly 140,0002 refugees from assorted Burmese ethnic groups are seeking shelter in Thailand’s refugee camps and over 500,0003 people are displaced on Burma’s eastern border.
The following report details the many ways in which children, living in Burma or in migrant communities, are sexually harassed and abused due to the unstable environment created by the SPDC.
Harming the Young: Sexually Abused Children in Burma and the Migrant Communities of Thailand
October 3, 2009
WCRP:
Introduction
Burma’s military junta, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) is notorious for its oppression of the democratic opposition led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and for human rights violations against ethnic nationalities who participate in liberation movements. In response to these violations and constant suppression, citizens are continually fleeing Burma.
There are over 1 million Burmese migrants working illegally and unsafely in Thailand1. Nearly 140,0002 refugees from assorted Burmese ethnic groups are seeking shelter in Thailand’s refugee camps and over 500,0003 people are displaced on Burma’s eastern border.
The following report details the many ways in which children, living in Burma or in migrant communities, are sexually harassed and abused due to the unstable environment created by the SPDC.

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Published by: Jutta Pflueg on Oct 05, 2009
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05.10.09 13:08Harming the Young: Sexually Abused Children in Burma and the Migrant Communities of Thailand : Mon Human RightsSeite 1 von 13http://rehmonnya.org/archives/1085
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Harming the Young: Sexually Abused Childrenin Burma and the Migrant Communities of Thailand
Burma’s military junta, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) is notorious for its oppressionof the democratic opposition led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and for human rights violations againstethnic nationalities who participate in liberation movements. In response to these violations and constantsuppression, citizens are continually fleeing Burma.There are over 1 million Burmese migrants working illegally and unsafely in Thailand1. Nearly 140,0002refugees from assorted Burmese ethnic groups are seeking shelter in Thailand’s refugee camps and over500,000
3
people are displaced on Burma’s eastern border.
 
05.10.09 13:08Harming the Young: Sexually Abused Children in Burma and the Migrant Communities of Thailand : Mon Human RightsSeite 2 von 13http://rehmonnya.org/archives/1085
The following report details the many ways in which children, living in Burma or in migrantcommunities, are sexually harassed and abused due to the unstable environment created by the SPDC.
Background (Conflict and migration)
In Burma, armed conflict has occurred throughout Shan State, Kayeh (Karenni State), Karen State, MonState and Tenasserism Division, where millions of members of ethnic minorities are living. The SPDChas named these conflict zones ‘Black Areas’, denoting their “unsecured” nature. The SPDCsubsequently uses this to justify the numerous human rights violations it commits in the areas.Your browser may not support display of this image. InMon State since 2000, the SPDC has deployed over 20 military battalions. Additionally, they haveimplemented a population transfer project under which Burman workers are relocated Mon areas toreplace Mon workers who have migrated to Thailand. Many retired SPDC personnel have been allowedto stay in Mon villages, and have been given ‘authority’ by local Burmese army commanders. In manycases, these retired Burmese soldiers and Burman migrant workers sexually harass and beatchildren.rmese migrant workers at a seafood production factory in MahachaiBurmese migrant workers at a seafood production factory in MahachaiFacing widespread human rightsviolations, conflict, economic hardship and taxation, many Mon and other ethnic minorities decide toflee illegally to Thailand for better incomes and new jobs. In order to avoid police, they travel through jungles, rivers, and mountains.Regularly children are withdrawn from school and the entire family migrates in search of new jobs. Of the thousands of migrant workers that move daily into Thailand, an uncountable number are children.Since the general population in Burma is unaware of any laws condemning ‘child labor’ or that theBurmese government has signed the Convention on the Rights of Children (CRC), children also migrateto Thailand for work.It is very difficult for migrants to obtain legal status, and the majority work illegally in unsafe conditionsin Thailand. Female migrants face additional difficulties, as they cannot always find work and many of them have to rely on their husbands, fathers and male friends for survival. Most female migrants stay innarrow rooms, in rented houses that are not secure. Because of these unsafe conditions, females living inthe migrant communities of Thailand are often raped or sexually harassed by neighbors, Thai police organgs.Some Thai and international NGOs have helped workers in Thai migrant communities prevent sexualviolence and abuse. However, because the migrant communities are so large, it is difficult to preventharassment in every location.
Children are particularly vulnerable in Southern Burma
 
05.10.09 13:08Harming the Young: Sexually Abused Children in Burma and the Migrant Communities of Thailand : Mon Human RightsSeite 3 von 13http://rehmonnya.org/archives/1085
Conflict Zones or ‘Black Areas’
Armed conflict is fairly constant in Southern Burma. TheNew Mon State Party (NMSP), the largest Mon ethnic political group, agreed to a ceasefire with theSPDC in 1995, although several Mon splinter groups continue to fight with the SPDC creating conflictzones with in Mon State. Similarly, the SPDC, by collaborating with Democratic Karen Buddhist Army(DKBA), a Karen ceasefire group, has launched a military offensive against the main Karen rebel group,Karen National Union (KNU). The offensive has created several conflict zones within Karen state.‘Black areas’ also litter parts of Tenesserim division, within which the SPDC regularly fights with Monand other ethnic minority groups.The SPDC is constantly active in Ye Township in Mon State and in Yebyu Township in TenesserimDivision. When the SPDC launches military offensives in these conflict zones, the villagers endurevarious violations. Children are often sexually assaulted and or beaten, while men and women are takenas porters, or accused of being rebel supporters and killed.Your browser may not support display of this image. An example, taken from a report made by theHuman Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM), is detailed below:Burmese Army troops in northern Tenesserim Division forced all residents of Amae village (Mae Tawvillage in Burmese) to abandon their homes and plantations in November. On the same day, the troopsraped a 17-year-old girl and severely beat a young man.Captain Pan Zar and 80 troops from Infantry Battalion (IB) No.107 entered the village on November 11,2008. After accusing the residents of supporting an armed Mon rebel group in the area, the troopsordered the villagers to relocate. Each household was also ordered to pay the soldiers 50,000 kyat, andthe residents were prohibited from visiting farms and plantations in the area.The villagers were given virtually no time to prepare for their departure. sources said they left the nextday, bringing only what they could carry and leaving behind the majority of their belongings, as well thetimber and other valuable construction materials in their homes.The soldiers assaulted at least one villager as they ordered the villagers to relocate. “One young manfrom the village asked the captain, ‘if you do like this, where will we go to live?’ said an eyewitnessfrom Amae. “The captain replied, ‘you can go and live anywhere, but not in this area. After that hegrabbed the young man and hit him in the head with the butt of his rifle. Once the young man had fallendown, the captain hit the young man’s leg and it broke.”According to another source, soldiers also raped a 17-year-old girl as she worked on a betel-nutplantation nearby. The resident, who spoke with the victim’s mother and then quoted her to HURFOM,said that she was crying as time she told the story. “My daughter is only 17-years-old. She was raped by

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