‘No Safe Place For Women’ in Northern Shan State

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Women’s rights activists say that women are facing increasing insecurity in northern Shan State due to the ongoing state of civil war between the Burma Army and ethnic armed organizations.

“Security for women in conflict-affected area in ethnic regions is still fragile. Women have suffered from mental trauma,” Seng Htoi, spokesperson for the Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT), told NMG. “Women have become a target. Women have faced sexual abuse. Abuse can occur at any time in a conflict-affected area. There is no safe place for women in these areas. More armed organizations causes less security for women in the area.”

Ta’ang Women’s Organization (TWO) spokesperson Lway Chi Sangar said that the lack of security in the region due to armed conflict has meant that women are also more vulnerable to domestic violence. She cited the murder of a primary school teacher in Huay Hkok village in Kutkai Township on January 24 as an example. The woman’s ex-boyfriend—a Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) soldier—reportedly has confessed to the crime and is in TNLA custody.

He is expected to be charged under TNLA law, in accordance with a statement put out by the organization.

“We welcome his confession. It means he is taking responsibility. We have to wait and see how they will bring justice for her,” Lway Chi Sangar said, referring to the victim.

KWAT’s Seng Htoi said that there are many recent unresolved murder cases in northern Shan State, dating back to the killing of two Kachin teachers in Kawng Hka village in Kutkai five years ago. No one has been arrested for the crime.

On July 4 last year, local woman Nan Htan was also killed in her home in Nam Soung Kyae village in Kutkai Township.

“There are many similar cases of murder but nobody knows who is behind these cases. We want justice for these murders,” San Htoi said. “Women in the community are really afraid. They are really worried about their security when they are traveling. Now women are really afraid of traveling alone.”