We at Vital Voices are deeply saddened and outraged by the targeted abuse against the Rohingya community in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, who are being forcibly displaced and facing atrocities many have labeled ethnic cleansing. In particular, we feel compelled to speak out as the UN Security Council calling on the Myanmar government to respond and emerging reports of widespread rape and sexual violence against Rohingya women and girls at the hands of Myanmar’s security forces. As we have seen time and time again, women are disproportionally affected in times of conflict and often are responsible for the rebuilding families and communities in the aftermath.
The use of sexual violence and rape as an act of war has been witnessed in far too many conflicts. The widespread rape and abuse of Rohingya women by the military and security forces is unacceptable and Vital Voices urges the governments, the UN and other international institutions to demand these atrocities committed against the Rohingya minority stop and to call for lasting peace and justice for all throughout the country.
We work with women across the globe who are on the frontlines of change. They are activists, innovators and disrupters. There are women just like them on the ground in Rakhine state, tirelessly working towards a swift and peaceful resolution to the crisis, and we stand with them.
Too often, women and children bear the brunt of violent conflict, yet are left out of the peace building and conflict resolution processes. The recently passed Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017 in the US is a step in the right direction, emphasizing women’s deep involvement in these processes as paramount to achieving sustainable security.
At Vital Voices we are working with women leaders to tackle gender-based violence (GBV) around the world, providing urgent assistance funds for survivors of extreme forms of GBV, to specialized trainings for law enforcement and justice system actors, promoting offender accountability though the Justice Institutes on Gender-Based Violence trainings. As the world watches the conflict in Myanmar unfold, we stand with the women and girls in the country being targeted for their gender and/or minority status, and hope for a lasting and sustainable end to the conflict.