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Karen Women's Organization

Date: 25th November 2015

Inadequate justice for victims of SGBV in the refugee camps
A New Report by the Karen Womens Organization
Salt in the Wound:
Justice Outcomes and SGBV cases in the Karen refugee camps, 2011-13
A new report, based on extensive research in 7 refugee camps on the Thai Burma
border, shows that perpetrators of sexual and physical violence against women in
the refugee camps are facing a situation of virtual impunity.
Julia Marip, Secretary of the Women's League of Burma (WLB) commented on the
report results, I was really shocked to see that the culture of impunity that prevails
in Burma, also seems to be the case in the refugee camps. I had assumed that with
international actors like UNHCR and IRC/LAC being present there that the situation
would be considerably better.
The report, which is launched on the 25th November to coincide with the
International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women, is a result of research
that analysed 289 cases of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) in the 7 camps
which took place between 2011 and 2013. The report found that in 6 of the 7 camps,
the justice system provided inadequate justice outcomes for 80% of the cases.
The camps have been in existence for more than 25 years, we have complex
systems for managing our communities. It is simply not good enough that justice,
especially for women, has been so neglected, said Naw Knyaw Paw, Secretary of
the Karen Womens Organization.
The report found that there were a number of reasons for the lack of proper justice,
including a lack of a set of clear and comprehensive camp rules and penalties, and
procedures, and a lack of resources and support for implementers of camp justice
and camp security. The inadequate Justice Outcomes presented in the report do not
help heal the wounds caused by violence, but rather are like salt in the wound, and
prolong the pain experienced by the victim.
We know that the justice system in the camps is weak. We hope that this report can
be used to address the underlying problems with it, so that we can work towards
having a more just community, both here and for the time of return in Burma.
Improving justice in the camps must be seen as a key component in preparing
refugees for return, said Naw Blooming Night Zan, Joint Secretary of the Karen
Refugee Committee (KRC).

The 289 cases included in the study were the more serious cases of sexual or
physical violence that were reported to KWO in the 3 years. The report found that in
about 70% of the total cases, the perpetrator was a husband abusing his wife. There
will be a 16 Day Campaign for Elimination of Violence Against Women organized in
every camp this year from November 25th to December 10th. The campaign in the
camps will focus on raising awareness and developing actions to stop violence in the
home and to improving access to justice for women who are victims of violence.
We really need mens participation to make this happen. We know that most men
do not use violence against their wives, it is only a few men who are the
perpetrators. But the victims are our daughters and our sisters. We should not be
silent. And we should not make jokes about it. We need both men and women to
stand up together against violence in our communities, said Naw Baw Nyaw
Chairperson of KWO in Umpiem Mai Camp.
The report calls on all stakeholders to work together, including men, youth, camp
committees and womens organizations in the camps, as well as refugee committees,
INGOs and UNHCR. It also calls for more accountability by donors for supporting the
work needed for improving justice in the camps.
Contact People:
Naw Ta Mla Saw - 081 0266738 (Eng and Karen)
Naw Siyo Paw - 089 267 9617 (Burmese, Eng and Karen)