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Hold Myanmar Military Accountable for Violence Against Women

We make this statement on behalf of 191 organizations.

Hold Myanmar Military Accountable for Violence Against Women

Read the Burmese version

Details of Security Council Chamber
© UN Photo/Evan Schneide/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Details of Security Council Chamber

Dear President and Members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council,

Marking the 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, we, Women’s Peace Network, and the undersigned organizations working for women’s rights and against gender-based violence, call upon the UN Security Council to hold the Myanmar military accountable for grievously violating the human rights of women. Since the military’s illegitimate seizure of power on February 1, the people of Myanmar have led nationwide mass movements to demand for the November 2020 election results to be respected, the 2008 Constitution to be abolished, a federal democratic union to be built with full equality and self-determination, and those arbitrarily detained and arrested to be released. Despite engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience, thousands of civilians, including women, have been brutally assailed by the regime’s tactics of violent assault, arbitrary detention, and extrajudicial killing. Given this military’s record of using sexual violence as a weapon of war, we fear that the country’s progress in enhancing the status of women is at risk now more than ever. We, members of the global women’s rights movement, now urgently join forces to amplify the people’s calls: the Myanmar military and security forces must be held to account for their brutality, and all impunity fueling their historical violation of women’s rights and international laws and norms must end. 

Across Myanmar, the military continue to act in violation of the UN Charter and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. In over a month, the Myanmar military and security forces have indiscriminately fired live ammunition at peaceful protesters -- killing at least 20 women. Deploying armored vehicles along the country’s streets, male security forces have targeted women with batons and slingshots all while strategically wielding water cannons, tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber bullets against other peaceful protesters. Throughout states and regions, the regime’s arbitrary detention and arrests of civilians have continued to rise as allegations of sexual assault and abuse across prisons have spread rampantly. If the Security Council and the international community do not take concrete action, we are concerned that the Myanmar military and security forces will continue to commit mass atrocities and act in contravention of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.

We would like to express our sincere appreciation to the member states for enforcing targeted  measures against the Myanmar military and security forces. The Security Council’s intervention is crucial for ensuring that these measures have their intended effect of putting an end to the military’s arbitrary violence against its own people. Over the past several decades, the military junta has tortured and killed the country’s ethnic minorities to consolidate its power nationwide, and perpetrated sexual and gender-based violence against women as a tactic of repression. As reported by the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar in 2019, countless Rohingya women were subjected to rape, mass gang rape, sexually humiliating acts, sexual slavery, and sexual mutilations during the military’s “clearance operations” -- amounting to crimes against humanity and genocide --  across 2012, 2016, and 2017. Yet to be held accountable for these atrocities, the military has interpreted the international community’s lack of a unified and comprehensive response as a license to intensify their abusive practices against the country’s most vulnerable. We are now asking you to take all necessary measures against the Myanmar military, in order to break the cycles of violence and abuse that have gone on for too long.

We, the undersigned organizations, urge the UN Security Council to hold the Myanmar military and security forces accountable by adopting a resolution to:

  1. Refer the situation of Myanmar to the International Criminal Court in order hold the Myanmar military and security forces to account, under international law, for committing crimes, including rape and sexual violence.
  2. Dispatch a monitoring and mediation body to Myanmar in response to the Myanmar military and security forces’ increasing use of violence against peaceful protesters, including women.
  3. Impose targeted economic sanctions and financial penalties and restrictions on the junta leadership and businesses that are owned and controlled by the Myanmar military. 
  4. Impose a comprehensive and global arms embargo on Myanmar. 

We thank you for your leadership and attention to this matter.


  • Action Against Violence and Exploitation
  • African Women 4 Empowerment e.V.
  • African Women Leaders Forum
  • Akahatá
  • Aliran
  • Alliance for Gender Inclusion in the Peace Process
  • Alliance of Democracies Foundation
  • ALTSEAN-Burma
  • Articulación Feminista Marcosur 
  • Asha Parivar
  • Asia Democracy Network
  • Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development 
  • Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants
  • Asian Migrants Centre
  • Asian Migrants Coordinating Body
  • Asian Muslim Action Network
  • Asian Resource Foundation Nepal 
  • Association for Women’s Rights in Development 
  • Association of War Affected Women
  • Aware Girls
  • AZ ZAHARA Women Group
  • Bayan Hong Kong and Macau
  • Beyond Borders Malaysia
  • Building and Wood Workers' International Asia-Pacific Regional Women's Committee
  • California National Organization for Women
  • CEDAW Action Myanmar
  • Center for Prisoners’ Rights
  • Center for Trade Union and Human Rights Philippines
  • Center of Excellence on Women and Social Security, Walailak University of Thailand
  • Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy
  • CIS Timor
  • Citizen News Service
  • Civicus
  • Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Asia Pacific
  • Collective for Research and Training on Development Action
  • Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
  • Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd
  • Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces
  • Congregation of St. Joseph
  • Congregation of the Mission
  • Count Me In! Consortium
  • Covenants Watch
  • Edmund Rice International
  • Elman Peace Center
  • Empatiku Foundation, Indonesia
  • EMPOWER Malaysia
  • Enlightened Myanmar Research Foundation
  • Equality Bahamas
  • EuroMed Feminist Initiative
  • European Coalition-Global Refugee Led Network
  • Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas
  • Feminist Alliance for Rights
  • Feminist Task Force "Gender Equality to End Poverty"
  • Feministischer Streik Darmstadt
  • Fiji Women’s Rights Movement
  • Filipino Migrant Workers Union
  • Flora Tristán
  • FOKUS – Forum for Women and Development
  • Fondazione Pangea Onlus-REAMA Network
  • Forum for Dignity Initiatives Pakistan
  • Frauen für den Frieden Berlin
  • Fund for Congolese Women
  • Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer
  • GABRIELA Hong Kong
  • Gender Equality Network
  • Global Interfaith Network
  • Global Justice Center
  • Global Network of Sex Work Projects
  • Global Network of Women Peacebuilders
  • Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict - Southeast Asia 
  • Hope Revival Organization
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Initiatives for International Dialogue
  • Institute for Young Women Development
  • Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Loreto Generalate
  • Inter Pares
  • International Alliance of Women
  • International Civil Society Action Network
  • International Domestic Workers Federation
  • International Federation for Human Rights
  • International Presentation Association
  • International Trade Union Confederation
  • International Trade Union Confederation-Asia Pacific
  • International Trade Union Confederation-Asia Pacific Women's Committee
  • International Transport Workers’ Federation
  • International Union of Food Workers Asia/Pacific Regional Organization
  • International Women's Development Agency
  • International Women's Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific
  • Internet Law Reform Dialogue
  • Iraqi Al-Amal Association
  • Iraqi Women Network
  • Justice for Iran
  • Justice for Peace Foundation
  • Kachin Women's Association of Thailand
  • Karen Women’s Organization
  • Kuki Women's Human Rights Organization
  • L'Association Djazairouna
  • La Federación Internacional De Abogadas USA
  • Leadership Conference of Women Religious
  • League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran
  • League of Women Voters of the United States
  • Let's Breakthrough, Inc.
  • Maldivian Democracy Network
  • Manushya Foundation
  • Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
  • Mercy International Association - Global Action
  • Millennium Sistahs T&T
  • Mon Women Organisation
  • Naripokkho
  • National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
  • National Domestic Women Workers Federation
  • National Fisheries Solidarity Organization
  • National Organization for Women
  • National Women Farmers and Workers Association, Bangladesh
  • Nationality is a Right for Me and My Family Campaign
  • Network for Solidarity, Empowerment and Transformation for All
  • Network of Domestic Workers in Thailand 
  • Network of Migrant Domestic Workers in Thailand
  • Network of NGOS of Trinidad and Tobago for the Advancement of Women
  • New Women Connectors
  • Ninu Chin Women Group
  • Nobel Women's Initiative
  • Odhikar, Bangladesh
  • Operation 1325
  • OutRight Action International
  • Passionists International
  • Pax Christi International
  • Pax Romana
  • Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
  • Project SEVANA South-East Asia
  • Public Services International, Asia Pacific Regional Office
  • Punjab Women Collective
  • Rainfall Feminist Women Group
  • Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary NGO
  • Rohingya Women Empowerment and Advocacy Network
  • RW Welfare Society - RWWS
  • Servas International
  • Sindh Nari Purhiat Council [Sindh Women Workers' Council], Pakistan
  • Sisters of Charity Federation
  • Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Office of Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation
  • Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Congregational Leadership
  • Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Western Province Leadership 
  • Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill Generalate 
  • Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, Korean Province
  • Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, United States Province
  • Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur
  • Somos la mitad, queremos paridad sin acoso - Perú
  • Suara Rakyat Malaysia
  • Synergie des Femmes pour les Victimes des Violences Sexuelles
  • Tavoy Women's Union
  • The Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women
  • The International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism
  • The Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders
  • U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph
  • UNANIMA International
  • UNI Apro Women
  • Union de l'Action Feministe Morocco
  • United Domestic Workers of the Philippines
  • United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-Migrante-HK)
  • Urgent Action Funds
  • Verein zur Förderung der Völkerverständigung
  • Vietnam Committee for Human Rights
  • Vital Voices
  • VIVAT International
  • Voice for Change, Papua New Guinea
  • We women foundation International, The Netherlands
  • We women foundation, Myanmar
  • We Women Lanka Network
  • WIN-Peace
  • Women Against Violence Europe
  • Women and Harm Reduction International Network
  • Women and Media Collective
  • Women Development Society
  • Women for Justice Foundation - Canada
  • Women for Peace and Justice
  • Women Graduates-USA
  • Women in Governance (WinG)-India
  • Women in Law and Development in Africa
  • Women in Response to Aids and Drug Addiction
  • Women Peacekeepers (WePeace) Philippines
  • Women Working for Social Progress
  • Women's Committee of the Federation of Hotel, Restaurant, Plaza, Catering, Apartment and Tourism - Indonesia
  • Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
  • Women's International Peace Centre
  • Women's Network for Peace, Germany / Frauennetzwerk für Frieden e.V.
  • Women's Peace Network
  • Women's Refugee Commission
  • Women’s Organizations Network Myanmar