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International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women of Burma – March 2nd, 2010

By admin | February 28, 2010

The Nobel Women’s Initiative and the Women’s League of Burma will be convening in New York City to hold an international tribunal which will be a women-directed and women-centered court of justice listening to the testimony from several women of Burma who will share their personal stories of surviving human rights violations and crimes under military rule in Burma.

The 12 women will talk about how they suffered rape, torture and other crimes at the hands of the military junta. The stories they share will represent thousands of other untold stories from across Burma. Stories of fear, anguish, resistance, escape, perseverance and hope for change.

The high-level panel of judges will include Dr. Heisoo Shin, Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn, and Nobel Peace Laureates Shirin Ebadi and Jody Williams who will offer up key policy recommendations, based on the testimony, and call on the international community to act on the human emergency in Burma.

Day 1 Testimony:

They raped us all without a second thought, until we finally escaped their drunken grasps. News spread quickly throughout my village. We received international attention when the BBC picked up the story. I had become a headline. The shame I brought to my family, my school, my village was so difficult to bear. I wanted to forget but no one would let me. I was caned by my teacher in front of the entire school before being expelled. Later, I was also expelled from my community for bringing shame upon it. Left without a home, a school, friends or a family, I was arrested by the police for “defaming” the same soldiers that raped me.

Day 2 Testimony:

I was arrested in 1989 because of my membership in Generation 88. I was 5 months pregnant when I was imprisoned, and gave birth behind the prison walls. I was given no medical care before or during the birth of my son and because of the complications, I could not have any more children. When my son was 6 months old unrest in the prison was reaching critical levels. I feared for his safety and so I gave him to his aunty and uncle. When I was first detained, they would not give me any food for 12 days. I now have liver disease from the dirty water we were forced to drink, which gave us all diarrhea. Throughout my time in the prison, I was beaten regularly, for failing to complete various tasks. I remember receiving a beating for failing to catch 25 flies. One day, an agent of a human rights organization came to inspect the prison. The prison officials hid me along with all of the other political prisoners.

Day 3 Testimony:

After fleeing our village, my family and I lived in refugee camps on the Thai-Burma border. For 10 years we were continuously forced to leave our new homes in the face of repeated attacks by the Burmese military. They would move east, setting up posts atop a mountain to oversee the region. From here they would watch and wait until suddenly they would appear in a village, killing the villagers and burning their homes, animals and land. This was a life-long struggle for my parents, who knew all-to-well what it was like to set up a new home and life for their family, only to be relocated once again. We left Burma for the last time in my father’s boat at midnight on my ninth birthday. My sister almost died on the journey. But now we are safe and I feel so blessed to have escaped the tragedies that befell so many of my neighbors and friends in Burma.

For more information:

To find out more information follow the proceedings by visiting the Nobel Women’s Initiative website.

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