The UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar said in a report Thursday that the country’s military must stop using sexual and gender-based violence to terrorise and punish ethnic minorities.
The Mission concluded that “rape and other sexual violence have been a particularly egregious and recurrent feature of the targeting of the civilian population in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States since 2011.” The brutal tactic was so severe in Rakhine State that it was a factor indicating the Myanmar military’s genocidal intent to destroy the Rohingya population.
International human rights law prohibits sexual and gender-based violence in all its forms. Despite its obligations as a state party to numerous international human rights treaties, Myanmar has only partially incorporated the content of these instruments into domestic law.
International humanitarian law also prohibits discrimination based on sex and gender as well as sexual and gender-based violence, including rape, when they take place in the context of armed conflict. As a state party to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948, Myanmar violated its obligation to not commit genocide and to prevent and punish genocide.
The report calls on the government of Myanmar, all parties to the conflicts and the international community to hold perpetrators of rape and other forms of sexual violence to account.