Justice and protection for Rohingya women and girls – in support of call for Unilever to disinvest from Myanmar
We strongly condemn the ethnic cleansing, widespread torture, killings and systematic rape and sexual torture of women and girls by the Myanmar Army, as part of its genocide against the Rohingya people.
A report, Rape by Command, compiled and published by the Kaladan Press Network documents horrific crimes committed against women and girls in 2017 across Rakhine State; in their homes and communities, or while fleeing the murderous army during its purge.
The chief researcher of the report, Razia Sultana, personally interviewed 36 survivors about what they had suffered and witnessed happening to many others. She concluded that “Women and girls were raped, mutilated and killed for their very identity as Rohingya. Rape is being used as a weapon of genocide.”
We are anti-rape organizations with over 60 years of combined experience of working with survivors of rape, including historic child and domestic abuse in the UK. Some of us have fled to the UK after suffering rape and torture by military or others in authority in other countries. We know first-hand the trauma of rape, of witnessing loved ones killed, and of the barriers to justice and recovery faced by victims of sexual crimes, in addition to losing your home and/or becoming a refugee. Women everywhere face disbelief, discrimination and harsh treatment but the movement internationally is enabling survivors to speak out and demand safety and our attackers brought to justice. Right now we are supporting women in Yarl’s Wood detention centre who are on hunger strike exposing their brutal and inhumane treatment.
We echo the main demands in the report:
• Hold the military to account for this systematic rape and other violence against civilian women and children. It is clear from the reports from the region that these crimes are not random but the result of soldiers acting under orders. No impunity for the Myanmar military!
• A place of safety for all the refugees to settle in, they should not be forced back to Myanmar.
We further support the call from Sisters of Rohingya that Unilever divest from Myanmar, to withdraw funds to the military and encourage other corporations to put people’s right to life before profits.
We call on international movements from Hollywood to #Me Too and Time’s Up to put this issue into the spotlight and say: stop corporate funding for; rape and genocide!