International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict 2017


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International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict 2017

Published date:
Monday, June 19, 2017

Today, 19 June 2017 is International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict. This day was chosen by the UN General Assembly because on 19 June 2008 the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1820 (2008) in which it "condemned sexual violence as a tactic of war and an impediment to peacebuilding".

This year's theme is "Preventing Sexual Violence Crimes through Justice and Deterrence". Throughout the history of Myanmar's internal armed conflicts and still today there are serious allegations of sexual violence in conflict by the Tatmadaw and other armed groups. A culture of impunity still reigns and investigations into allegations often lead to unsatisfactory outcomes. 

KHRG has continuously documented cases of sexual violence in conflict in southeast Burma/Myanmar and addressed the issue in its thematic report in 2016 - 'Hidden Strengths, Hidden Struggles: Women's testimonies from southeast Myanmar'. Also KHRG submitted its findings to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) in 2016. It must be noted that, it is unlikely that the full scale of this abuse is represented in the KHRG reports, as it is an abuse that is severely underreported because of a combination of threats and social stigma. 

There is still a lack of comprehensive protection for women in domestic legislation which not only leads to a lack of deterrence for armed actors, but also for civilians, to perpetrate acts of sexual violence. The Protection and Prevention of Violence against Women (PoVAW) Bill is currently being discussed in the Myanmar parliament and should be adopted without delay and take recommendations from civil society organisations into due consideration.

Myanmar is obligated to do so under the several binding UN Security Council resolutions such as 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1960 (2010), 2106 (2013) and 2122 (2013) (these were all unanimously adopted by the 5 permanent and 10 non-permanent members of the Security Council). Also Myanmar has already endorsed the Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in 2013 and Myanmar is also a State Party to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

See KHRG’s 2016 thematic report here

See KHRG’s CEDAW submission here

See KHRG’s statement on International Women’s Day 2017 (March) here:

For specific reports in which KHRG documented incidents of sexual violence by armed actors, see: