Myanmar: UN envoy urges investigation into alleged sexual assaults after violence flares in Rakhine state

Ethnic Rakhine people shelter in a stadium in Sittwe. Photo: Joe Freeman/IRIN

11 November 2016 – Gravely concerned about allegations of rape and sexual assault of women and girls in Northern Rakhine state in Myanmar following recent border attacks, Zainab Hawa Bangura, the United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict called today on the Government to ensure that an impartial and effective investigation is conducted into the alleged incidents.

It is also vital to provide enough access for the humanitarian organizations to intervene and ensure life-saving clinical management and psycho-social support services for survivors, and end access restrictions on human rights monitors and member of the media, she added in a statement issued by her Office.

The envoy warned that there might be more similar incidents of sexual assaults in the future as the escalation of the violence continues, and urged to the Government of Myanmar to act now to prevent any future incidents.

“These are not isolated incidents but are part of a wider pattern of ethnically motivated violence that my office has tracked over the past several years. It is critical to end impunity for sexual violence, and I would remind the relevant authorities that human rights must be respected even in the context of counter-insurgency operations,” said Mrs. Bangura.

Finally, the Special Representative stressed that her Office will continue to monitor the situation, provide any necessary support to the survivors, and hold perpetrators of conflict-related sexual violence accountable.


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