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Women's Bodies

UPDATE: Karen Indigenous Women Directly Targeted in Burmese Regime’s Terror Campaign in Karen State

Karen Women's Organization

Update, January 26, 2012:  I’ve been following the work of the Karen indigenous women in Burma for many years now, so I was heartened to hear that the Burmese government has signed a cease-fire truce with the Karenni people as of Thursday, January 12, 2012.   Let’s hope it’s for real.


Note:  Following is a blog post I wrote last February after having received the press release which follows from the Karen Women’s Organization.  The situation has, of course, come to a head in Burma.  I am writing about it and wanted to provide this history, particularly of what has been happening to the women of Burma.  — Heart

February12, 2007
Press Release

State of Terror, a report launched today by the Karen Women’s Organization, provides graphic evidence of the widespread terror tactics being employed by the military regime’s troops against women across Burma’s Karen State.

As the atrocities continue, the KWO appeals for concerted international pressure on the regime to bring about an immediate nationwide ceasefire and withdrawal of Burmese Army Troops from the ethnic states.

“We deeply regret the veto by China and Russia and SouthAfrica’s vote against the UN Security Council Resolution on Burma last month,” said KWO Secretary Naw Zipporah Sein.  “It is equivalent to endorsing the regime’s terror campaign in Karen State.  They are giving  us a death sentence.”

The report documents 4,000 cases of abuse, including rape, murder, torture and forced labour, mainly over the past few years, in over 190 villages by troops from over 40 Burmese Army battalions. 

Repeated incidents of gang-rape  in 2006 reveal that the patterns of systematic sexual violence exposed byt he KWO in their 2004 report Shattering Silences are still continuing. 

Harrowing testimony in the report describes women seeing their children killed before their eyes, women used as human minesweepers and pregnant women suffering miscarriages while carrying heavy loads for the army.

Read the full report at Karen Women’s Organization

Background from

More information:

Women’s League of Burma
Refugees Within
Dignity in the Shadow of Oppression:  The Abuse and Agency of Karen Women Under Militarization
Karen Human Rights Group

Alternet article, Fighting for Change



4 thoughts on “UPDATE: Karen Indigenous Women Directly Targeted in Burmese Regime’s Terror Campaign in Karen State

  1. Thanks for posting about this. We don’t hear enough about what’s going on in Burma. There was that brief burst of press coverage when they started up the “constitutional convention” (yeah, right), but then it was as though the story just disappeared.

    The situation in Burma, and particularly the struggle of the Karen, the Kachin, the Shan, and the other ethnic minorities there, is a postcolonial tragedy that’s been ignored by the West for too long.

    Posted by maikaojai | February 17, 2007, 1:38 am
  2. So true, maikaojai, and thanks for reading and commenting. These people’s stories must be heard, so frustrating, the apathy! Of course, the West ignores this situation– there’s nothing in it for us, no money, no oil, no diamonds, nothing we can steal or plunder or turn into cold hard cash, so what do we care. If I could only get the ear of the entire world, for just a few hours…


    Posted by womensspace | February 17, 2007, 4:40 am
  3. You can help the Karenni woman

    Posted by Mike | February 2, 2008, 4:01 am
  4. Thank you so much for this link, Mike. I’ve been intending for some time to update this post and provide information on what is happening now.

    Thanks again,


    Posted by womensspace | February 2, 2008, 5:19 am

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