Dear Members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council,
We, the undersigned women’s rights and human rights organizations, call upon the UN Security Council to hold the Myanmar military and security forces accountable for their grave human rights violations, including the use of violence against women. We strongly condemn the Myanmar military and security forces for their acts in violation of international human rights and humanitarian laws and norms, which amount to crimes against humanity according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar, and the UN Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar. Since the Myanmar military’s attempted seizure of power on February 1, 2021, the junta has arbitrarily arrested and detained at least [TBC on 12/19] people, forcibly disappeared the majority of them, and murdered over [TBC on 12/19]; among them, at least [TBC on 12/19] women have been arbitrarily arrested and detained and [TBC on 12/19] murdered. Given the Myanmar military and security forces’ decades-long use of sexual and gender-based violence against ethnic minority groups, as well as their institutionalized patriarchy and misogynistic culture, we are deeply concerned that the situation of the women of Myanmar will continue to be severely exacerbated.
Today, we write this letter to draw attention to the Myanmar military junta’s widespread and systematic use of violence against women in particular since February 1, 2021. Among such brutalities, the following cases demonstrate the junta’s acts in violation of international human rights and humanitarian laws and norms, including the UN Charter and the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and in contravention of the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the UN Security Council Resolution 1325:
- On February 9, in Naypyidaw, Naypyidaw Union Territory, a Myanmar Police Force officer fired a submachine gun at a group of civilians in a non-violent anti-coup demonstration, shooting 19-year-old Mya Thwet Thwet Khaing in the head and resulting in her death a week later.
- On March 3, in Mandalay, Mandalay Region, the Myanmar military and security forces fired live ammunition at a group of civilians in a non-violent anti-coup demonstration, murdering 19-year-old Kyal Sin, or Angel.
- On April 3, in Mutraw District, Karen State, following its wave of airstrikes on the Thai-Myanmar border from March 27 to April 1, the Myanmar military fired shells into villages, killing a woman in Ler Day Village; four days later, the
military fired shells into Nay Ga Village, injuring two women and an 11-year-old girl.
- On April 17, in Yankin Township, Yangon Region, the Myanmar military and security forces arbitrarily detained 31-year-old Khin Nyein Thu, 19-year-old Hsu Linn Htet, and four men for their alleged involvement in a series of bomb attacks; and at an interrogation center in the city’s Shwepyithar Township, tortured and sexually assaulted Khin Nyein Thu, including by kicking and beating her sexual organs with a stick until they bled.
- On May 25, in Tawseint Village, Magwe Region, approximately 70 soldiers and officers of the Myanmar military and security forces raided the area and fired live ammunition at residents for their alleged involvement in producing anti-coup graffiti, murdering 24-year-old Saung Hnin Hmon.
- On June 13, in Bamun Village, Mandalay Region, the Myanmar military and security forces arbitrarily detained 5-year-old Su Htet Wine, her 44-year-old mother, and 17-year-old sister when attempting to arrest her father, a local protest leader. While Su Htet Wine was released on June 30, her mother and sister were sentenced in July to three years in prison for alleged incitement.
- On July 27, in Mandalay, Mandalay Region, the Myanmar military and security forces fired live ammunition at a group of civilians in a non-violent anti-coup demonstration, murdering 25-year-old Thu Thu Zin. Her body has yet to be returned to her family.
- On September 1, in Paung Township, Mon State, the Myanmar military and security forces fired live ammunition at 27-year-old Ei Thwe Moe, who was five months pregnant, and her husband, killing them both.
- On October 28, in Pyin Htaung Village, Sagaing Region, the Myanmar military and security forces raided the area and fired live ammunition at civilians, killing six-year-old Myo Thandar Hlaing.
- On November 7, in Kutkai Township, Shan State, a soldier from the Myanmar military and security forces raped a 62-year-old woman.
- On November 11, in Aklui Village, Chin State, a group of soldiers from the Myanmar military and security forces raided the area, plundered its homes, and gang raped a 27-year-old woman and her 30-year-old sister-in-law.
- On December 5, in Kyimyindaing Township, Yangon Region, a Myanmar military vehicle rammed into a group of civilians in a non-violent anti-coup demonstration, resulting in fatalities and leaving many injured; soldiers then fired at the demonstrators and arbitrarily detained at least three women, including Mya Kyu Kyu Thin, Yin May Aung, and Hmuu Yadanar Khet Moh Moh Htun.
We would like to share our sincere appreciation for the member states’ continued efforts to raise awareness of the ongoing atrocities, including by issuing statements and
resolutions. However, ten months after the coup attempt, we fear that words alone cannot be deemed effective in putting an end to the junta’s violence and protecting the lives of the country’s people. For over thirty years, the Myanmar military and security forces that compose the junta today have wielded violence to subjugate the country’s ethnic minority communities. According to the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, sexual and gender-based violence — including rape, gang rape, sexual mutilation, sexual slavery — have been the hallmark of the Myanmar military and security forces’ commission of mass atrocity crimes, including genocide against Rohingya. Providing further evidence of such terror in Myanmar, women’s rights and human rights organizations have long urged for justice to be served to the victims and survivors of the military’s brutalities. Yet, the international community’s failure to take concerted action to meet such decades-long calls for accountability has instead emboldened the Myanmar military and security forces to launch a coup attempt, and intensify their use of violence nationwide. We now believe that the junta is perpetrating crimes against humanity across the entire country, and are asking you to take all the necessary measures to protect the people of Myanmar today.
Therefore, we, the undersigned organizations, urge the UN Security Council to hold the Myanmar military and security forces accountable by adopting a resolution to
- Refer the situation of Myanmar to the International Criminal Court in order hold the Myanmar military and security forces accountable for committing crimes, including sexual and gender-based violence, under international law.
- Impose targeted economic sanctions, financial penalties, and restrictions on the junta leadership and businesses that are owned and controlled by the Myanmar military and security forces; and freeze their assets.
- Impose a comprehensive and global arms embargo on Myanmar.
We thank you for your leadership and attention to this matter.
A total of 552 endorsements from the below 154 human rights and women’s rights organizations, as well as 398 more from those endorsing this letter anonymously.
2. Abductees’ Mothers Association
3. ACDI/VOCA Myanmar
4. African Women 4 Empowerment
5. Aliran, Malaysia
6. Alliance of Inclusive Muslims (AIM)
8. Alyansa Tigil Mina (Alliance to Stop Mining) – Philippines
9. Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM-Phil)
10. American Rohingya Advocacy/Arakan Institute for Peace and Development
11. Anti hate movement
12. Asia Democracy Network
13. Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
14. Asia Pacific Forum on Women Law and Development
15. Asia Pacific Partnership for Atrocity Prevention (APPAP)
16. Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters-HRDP
17. Association of War Affected Women
18. Association of Women for Awareness and Motivation (AWAM)
19. Athan – Freedom of Expression Activist Organization
20.Balai Syura Ureung Inong Aceh
21. Beyond Borders Malaysia
22.Blood Money Campaign
23.Burma Action Ireland
24.Burma Campaign UK
25.Burma Task Force
26.Burmese American Millennials
27. Burmese Democratic Forces
28.Bytes For All, Pakistan
29.Center for Social Integrity
30.Center of Excellence on Women and Social Security, Walailak University,
31. Centre for Human Rights and Development
32.Centre for Inclusive Governance, Peace and Justice
33.Centre for Peace and Justice, Brac University
34.Chin Leaders of Tomorrow (CLT)
35.Citizenship Affected Peoples’ Network CAPN – Nepal
36.Community Initiatives for Development in Pakistan
37. Crane Center for Mass Atrocity Prevention
39.East Yangon University Legal Information Center
40.Equal Asia Foundation (Stichting EqualA Foundation)
41. Equality Bahamas
42.European Karen Network
43.FIDH – International Federation for Human Rights
45.Foundation for Labour and Employment Promotion
46.Free Burma Action Bay/USA/Global
47. Free Myanmar Campaign USA/BACI
48.Freedom for Burma
49.Freedom, Justice, Equality for Myanmar
50.Fund for Congolese Women
51. Genocide Watch
52.Global DEEP Network
53. Global Justice Center
54.Global Movement for Myanmar Democracy (GM4MD)
55. Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC)
56.Globe International Center, Mongolia
57. Hope Revival Organization
58.Hope Revival Organization
59. HRM “Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan”
60.Human right organization
61. ICR / No Business with Genocide / Campaign for a New Myanmar
62.In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND)
63.Initiative to Promote Tolerance and Prevent Violence (INITIATE.MY)
64.Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID)
65.Institute for Asian Democracy
66.International Association of People’s Lawyers
67.International Center on Conflict and Negotiation (ICCN)
68.International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN)
69.International Karen Organization
70.International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific
71. Iraqi Women Network
72.Islamic Renaissance Front
73. Justice Base
74.Karen Community of Canada
75. Karen Human Rights Group
76.Karen Organization of America
77. Karen Peace Support Network
78.Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law
79. LA Rohingya Association/America Rohingya Justice Network
80.Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada
81. Loka Ahlinn (LA)
82.Madaripur Legal Aid Association (MLAA)
83.Mandalay Federalism Institute
85.Maramagri Youth Network
88.Middle East Nonviolence and Democracy (MEND)
89.Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute Foundation, Inc.
90.Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers, International Association of
People’s Lawyers (IAPL)
91. Montréal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies
92.Myanmar Advocacy Coalition
93.Myanmar Student Community – Thailand
95.National Domestic Woman Workers Union
96.Nationalities Alliance of Burma USA
97. Never Again Coalition
98.Nobel Women’s Initiative
99.Nonviolence International – Ukraine
100. Novelita V. Palisoc
101. Office of Nobel Laureate and former President
102. OPEN ASIA|Armanshahr
103. Pacific Conference of Churches
104. Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum
105. Pakistan Rural Workers Social Welfare Organization
106. Participatory Research & Action Network- PRAAN
107. Pathways for Women’s Empowerment and Development (PaWED)
108. Pax Romana Delegate at UNO Vienna
109. Peace and Security Cluster, AEPF
110. Peace Track Initiative
111. Peace Women Partners, Inc.
112. Peacebuilding Project
113. People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD)
114. Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia (GERAK)
115. Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
116. Psychological Responsiveness NGO
117. Public Association “Dignity”
118. Rakhine Ethnics Congress
120. Rockflower Partners Inc.
121. Rohingya Action Ireland
122. Salam for Democracy and Human Rights
123. Sassoufit collective
125. Shan Women’s Action Network
126. Sisters of Charity Federation
127. Sitt Nyein Pann Foundation
128. Southeast Asia Conflict Studies Network (SEACSN)
129. Southeast Asian Women Peacebuilders Network (SEAWP)
130. Spring Revolution Interfaith Network
131. Students for Free Burma
132. Support the Democracy Movement in Burma
133. Textile Garment Federation
134. The Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN) – Indonesia
135. The Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Women Division
136. Think Centre
137. U.S. Campaign for Burma
138. UNI GLOBAL UNION – Asia and Pacific
139. Uni Sri Lanka Affiliate Council Women’s Committee.
140. Verein zur Förderung der Völkerverständigung (VFV)
141. Visionary Foundation Pakistan
142. Voices From Friends
143. WiLDAF-Afrique de l’Ouest
144. Women Advocacy Coalition Myanmar
145. Women Education Development Organization of Liberia
146. Women’s Aid Organisation
147. Women’s League of Burma
148. Women’s Peace Network
149. Women’s Refugee Commission
150. Women’s Rehabilitation Centre (WOREC)
151. World Federalist Movement/Institute for Global Policy
152. YLBHI/Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation
153. Young Pride Club
154. Youth Core Group on Atrocity Prevention