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Caught in the Crossfire video docum
Subject: Caught in the Crossfire video documentary reviews
HEADLINE: RAPE CASE AGAINST SLORC TROOPS CONTINUES TO BUILD
The NATION, November 17, 1995
The UN and NGOs are compiling a growing dossier of testimonies, video
tape and witness accounts detailing Rangoon's dirty war against ethnic
rebel, AUNG ZAW reports.
"We surrounded the thief's house.. we couldn't find the thief so
we took his wife and child instead. We shaved his wife's head and
confined her to the stockade. When her husband came, we release her.
After that, we killed her husband," a captured Burmese soldier told maker
of a video called "Caught in the Crossfire."
The video, made by Images Asia, was shown at the fouth UN
Conference on Women in Beijing this year.
Although the tape was only 18 minutes long, it provides a
shocking testament to the suffering endured by the Burmese women under
the State Law and Order Restoration Council.
In a scene showing women cooking in the jungle, a background
voice narrates their plight. "The military uses rape to punish civilians,
especially women, for percieved sympathies with the enemy and to
demonstrate the soldiers' control and domination over civilians. Rape is
not just an attack on the women, but on the social and social structure
of entire communities."
Much of the rest of the rape is told in the voices of the women
themselves. The UN human rights investigator Yozo Yokota comfirmed the
charges in his recent report to the General Assembly, stating: "The rape
of women serving in forced labour camps, or as porters, is said to be
The report further described the appalling violations of human
rights, including the systamatic rape of women by Burmese soldiers.
Burmese soldiers view rape as a right, the report said. It added that
rape was encouraged by officers. "Women are sometimes singled out for
portering or other types of forced labor in order to be raped," the
Images Asia's human rights workers documenting cases of SLORC
abuses against women and children said soldiers particularly target women
whose husbands are fighting with the rebel armies.
A member of Images Asia said they have heard the same name again
and again while they intervied women. That name is Sgt Ba Kyi and among
his victims was a six-year-old girl. The girl's parents sent her to
gather vegetables at a farm and Ba Kyi is said to have raped her by the
roadside. She was unable to walk after the attack and villagers later
found her. She died later in hospital.
Burmese soldiers who have been captured or defected to rebel
armies have admitted rape is common. Many women and children in Shan,
Karen and Mon states told their stories to NGO workers and humanrights
workers who have been closely watching the situation. One women said she
saw soldiers seize a women from her village. "I was so scared of them I
ran away. I hid in the jungle for more than two weeks and subsisted only
on rice soup." When she returned to her village, she was confronted by
SLORC patrol, forcing her to flee again.
(continue part II)