The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (S/2020/487) issued on 03 June 2020.

In 2019, Rohingya and other ethnic minorities remained at risk of conflict-related sexual violence. The increased fighting between the Myanmar armed forces (Tatmadaw Kyi) and various armed groups, including the Arakan Army, the Kachin Independence Army, and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, caused civilian casualties and displacement in Rakhine, Southern Chin, Northern Shan and Kachin States. Women, girls and boys remain at risk of trafficking, especially from Northern Shan and Kachin States, and from refugee camps in Bangladesh. Risks of forced marriage, forced pregnancy, sexual exploitation, detention and forced labour are common among women and girls living in camps for internally displaced persons and in conflict-affected areas. The high level of risk is compounded by a lack of livelihood and economic opportunities and restrictions imposed by the authorities on humanitarian actors.

The lack of accountability for crimes of conflict-related sexual violence perpetrated against the Rohingya in northern Rakhine remains unchanged. As presented in its report, the independent international fact-finding mission on Myanmar on sexual and gender-based violence found that sexual violence was a hallmark of Tatmadaw operations in 2016 and 2017. Moreover, it showed that those violations were perpetrated against Rohingya women and girls in order to intimidate, terrorize and punish the civilian population as a tactic of war. Following the signature of a joint communiqué in 2018 on prevention of and response to conflict-related sexual violence between the Government and the United Nations, a national committee on addressing conflict-related sexual violence was formed and a working group on monitoring, analysis and reporting arrangements was established. The United Nations, along with civil society partners, strengthened referral pathways for the provision of multisectoral services to survivors of sexual violence, including mental health and psychosocial assistance, especially in conflict-affected areas. The Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement is gradually implementing standard operating procedures for case management and clinical guidelines for responding to rape. In July, the Child Rights Law was enacted, criminalizing sexual violence and requiring the Government, the Tatmadaw and armed groups to take measures to protect children from sexual violence. The draft law on the prevention of violence against women, developed in March 2013, is still pending parliamentary adoption, as are revisions to the Constitution and Penal Code recommended by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW/C/MMR/CO/EP/1).

Recommendation

I urge the Government to implement the joint communiqué and action plan to prevent and address conflict-related sexual violence, in close coordination with my Special Representative and the United Nations country team. I further call upon the Government to advance relevant legislative reforms and to implement the recommendations contained in the report of the independent international fact-finding mission on Myanmar on sexual and gender-based violence, and to comply with the provisional measures ordered by the International Court of Justice. I urge the Government to grant humanitarian access to conflict-affected areas and to support the deployment of a women’s protection adviser to the Office of the Resident Coordinator.

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