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venerdì 2 dicembre 2016

Child rape cases surge 40% in Burma

The rise highlights a growing problem for the country, also known as Myanmar, which is still grappling with a dark past of human rights abuses.

By the end of October, 380 child molestation cases had been reported — 150 more than in the same period in 2015, and accounting for half of all reported rapes nationwide
Rights activists fear the numbers could be the tip of the iceberg, as a culture of silence and victim blaming means abuse often goes unreported. 
"Most most of the time it is carried out by family members, neighbours, relatives or someone close to the victims' families," police major Khin Maung Thin from Mandalay, where cases have doubled, told AFP.
"Brothers abuse sisters and fathers abuse daughters," he said.
Poverty and weak laws mean Burmese children are particularly vulnerable to abuse, and many are sold into labour or forcibly recruited to fight in the country's borderlands. 
Activists say many more are at risk of exploitation either as domestic helpers for wealthy families or within their own communities.
UNICEF's Myanmar representative Bertrand Bainvel said sexual violence is the second most widespread form of child abuse in the country.
"Sometimes families are reluctant to report [cases] because of the taboo surrounding the issue," he said.
"They think they are protecting victims by not reporting."
Burma has been plagued by human rights abuses.
Earlier this week, the UN's rights agency warned Rohingya Muslims in the country may be the victims of crimes against humanity.
The army has been accused of gang rape, torture and murder by fleeing members of the long-persecuted minority, leading thousands of angry Muslims to take to the streets across Asia in protest.
Analysis of satellite images by Human Rights Watch found 1,250 houses and other structures in Rohingya villages have been burned down.
Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi recently vowed to work towards "peace and national reconciliation" but gave no specific details on how her government intends to resolve the violence and discrimination faced by the Rohingya.
Additional reporting by AFP

Child rape cases surge 40% in Burma Samuel Osborne  1 December 2016

In response to increasing levels of reported sexual abuse and violence against children, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement has announced the opening of a special government hotline dedicated to these crimes.
The newly established government hotline follows the lead of local NGO Akhaya Women Myanmar and the Blue Ocean call centre which, since October 20, have been running a similar service for women and children who are victims of violence and sexual abuse.
While that hotline received more than 100 calls in the last month regarding violence, few calls were made regarding the sexual assault of children, according to Blue Ocean call centre’s legal and corporate affairs manager, Ko Thein Soe Oo.
In addition to the dedicated hotline, the Department of Social Welfare will cooperate with other government agencies, civil society organisations and NGOs to carry out a public awareness campaign.
The number of reported cases of child rape has risen significantly from January through the end of October compared with the same period last year, according to state media. 
Violence against women and children is increasingly getting attention from activists and lawmakers, with awareness-raising campaigns launched last month amid calls for stricter penalties for offenders.
Members of the public can contact the dedicated government hotline on 067-404999 or 067-404222 if they know of or suspect that a child has been the victim of sexual or physical abuse.

Government opens hotline to fight child sex abuse The Myanmar Times   02 December 2016

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