Today, on International Women’s Day (IWD), a day to appreciate women’s rights, Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) would like to draw attention to the situation of gender equality and women’s rights in southeast Myanmar. The United Nations (UN) has set a theme this year to focus on “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030” using the slogan “Be Bold For Change”. This theme highlights that there are still changes needed for women to enjoy their rights fully and equally and we all need to be bold to fight for those rights.
KHRG Programme Director, Naw Htoo Htoo, stated for this year’s IWD theme that:
“Equal rights for women are not widely recognised in Myanmar, especially in rural ethnic areas. Despite efforts by organisations working on women’s rights and empowerment, women in rural areas lack sufficient knowledge of their rights and are not yet able to fully enjoy them. For women in Myanmar to get equal rights, not only women, but also men should know and support women’s rights. Men should recognise women’s potential and give them space to involve in the changes occurring in the country in order to improve the situation for all, not only for men. If everyone in Myanmar is ‘bold for change’ and recognises that women’s rights are human rights, it will be easier to achieve gender equality.”
In an Op-Ed published on News Deeply Women & Girls Hub in October 2016, Naw Eh Thaw, KHRG Advocacy Coordinator stated:
“Women have their own sets of ideas and critical thinking skills, and can help in solving certain problems faced by society. They have the energy and strength to protect and promote the rights of their community. No one else – and certainly no man – can take their place.”
Myanmar acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1997 and it has since been binding on Myanmar. Last year, June 2016, Myanmar’s state report to the CEDAW Committee was reviewed in the 64th session. Due to the NGO stakeholder submissions, including KHRG’s, the Committee and the world could see that women in Myanmar are still struggling with human rights violations and face many challenges to claim their human rights.
In southeast Myanmar, especially women from rural areas are prone to face human rights violations and are not able to enjoy their rights fully. They have faced barriers to access education and health services during the conflict era and still during the current time of ceasefire due to ongoing militarisation, sporadic clashes and the continued presence of armed forces and landmines.
Other important negative factors are the long distances between rural villages and post-primary education and health facilities; traditional cultural attitudes that women should stay home and help take care of the household, marry young, have children and raise them; and the prohibitive cost of sending a child to secondary school and university (as boys are often given preference over their sisters for education).
Download full statement t in English HERE.
သေဘာထားထုတ္ျပန္ခ်က္ ျမန္မာဘာသာကုိ ဤေနရာတြင္ ရယူႏုိင္သည္။