RANGOON, BURMA (BosNewsLife)-- Burmese troops gang raped and tortured a grandmother in a church in the latest reported case of abuse by Burma's military against the predominantly Christian Kachin minority, Christian rights activists said Monday, May 21.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), an advocacy group investigating the attacks in Burma, told BosNewsLife that the grandmother of 12 was sheltering on May 1 alone in a church after other villagers had fled the country's northernmost Kachin State near the border with China.
"Burma Army troops entered the church where they beat her with rifle butts, stabbed her with knives, stripped her naked and gang-raped her over a period of three days," CSW said.
On May 4, she was taken to hospital by villagers and reunited with her children "however she is now suffering from mental health problems," the group added in a statement.
CSW investigators who visited Kachin State in January said they already received other reports of the rape of women by Burmese troops.
In one case, a woman, identified as Sumlut Roi Ji, was allegedly raped repeatedly over a number of days before she disappeared.
BosNewsLife in general is cautious with naming victims of sexual abuse, unless they agree to come forward or their their case is already in the public domain.
Her husband took this case to the Supreme Court in Naypyidaw, the new capital of Burma, also known as Myanmar, but CSW claimed it has now learned that the court dismissed all charges against the Burmese military.
Trial observers said the Supreme Court has given a message that "the Burmese military can rape and kill ethnic women with impunity."
CSW’s East Asia Team Leader Benedict Rogers said it was "an appalling case" and shows that "despite all the signs of change in other parts of the country, crimes against humanity continue to be perpetrated by the Burma Army against ethnic nationalities, particularly the Kachin."
President Thein Sein has made clear he wants a ceasefire with different ethnic groups demanding more rights. However "if the reform process is to really mean true change for Burma, the military must stop raping, torturing, enslaving and killing civilians," argued Rogers.
"The international community is right to welcome the progress made in Burma so far, but it must be careful it is not blinded by optimism," he said.
"As long as women are being raped and tortured and killed, and churches are occupied by the military and such crimes committed in them" [the world[ "must maintain pressure on President Thein Sein to stop these attacks and make serious progress towards a meaningful peace process with the ethnic nationalities."
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