December 13, 2017

Maungtaw women alleging rape interviewed by journalists

Members of media interview local women in Maungtaw, Rakhine State on 30th March 2017.

Foreign and local journalists who are being allowed to independently report the news from Maungtaw have interviewed three women who claim they were raped three months ago by security forces.
The media group visited No. 1 Border Guard Police Headquarters that had been attacked in October and nearby villages in Maungtaw Township — Kyikanpyin, Wapeik, Aungmingalar, Pharwattchaung, Pyintphyuchaung, Kyarkaungtaung, Kyatyoepyin, Ngarsakyu, Pyaungpype, — and collected information about socio-economic improvement, local development, rule of law, stability, accidental fires and residents who had returned after fleeing because of the violent attacks that occurred on October 9, 2016.
During the trip that the three women from Kyatkaungtaung village allegedly told journalists that they were raped by security forces three months ago. It was learnt that responsible persons will investigate the matter to uncover the truth.
The media group conducted by the Ministry of Information will independently cover news from 28 March to 1 April. The media are TV Asahi, the BBC, the VOA, EPA, Nippon, Fuji TV, Central News Bureau, Frontier Myanmar, Myanmar News Agency, Myanmar Alin and Kyaemon. A total of 18 journalists made the trip, led by General Manager U Ye Naing from the News and Periodicals Enterprise.
Similar events have transpired in Pyaungpite and Kyatyoepyin villages, said U Ye Htut, Chairman of the Maungtaw District Management Committee.
“Daw Than Than of Kyatyoepyin Village reported a similar case when both media groups and the investigation Commission visited Rakhine. We reported to the Border Police Force so that legal action can be taken for the victim and they went on a field inspection to the village on that very day. However the victimized female was found to have left the village after receiving compensation and after listening to voices of the village chief and elders the case was discontinued,” he added.
“We will properly handle the case in a legal manner. The three victims confessed to the media regarding the allegations of being raped. It is necessary that the victims themselves file a lawsuit in order for the Border Police Force to move in for inspection. Anonymity will be given for safety reasons for witnesses if they were to give a testimony but the victims need to take responsibility for their own testimonies. If found to be guilty then the perpetrators will be given a fitting sentence in accord with the law,” said the chairman of the committee.
“If the victim personally testifies their sexual assault then immediate action will be taken, however responsibility needs to be taken for their own accusations,” he added. “Just verbally is not enough, the victims need to show firm evidences for their grievances. We need cooperation to take action against the perpetrator. We can’t put pressure on the victims,” said U Ye Htut.
“If they can say about when and where the event was happened, we can check out the list of the officials in that region and try to expose the perpetrators,” he said. “Concerning the current case, local women escorted the female victims to Ngakhuya police station to file a law suit. Now, they have returned to their respective villages,” he said.

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