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close this bookIf Not Now, When? - Addressing Gender-Based Violence in Refugee, Internally Displaced, and Post-Conflict Settings - A Global Overview (RHRC; 2002; 123 pages)
View the documentList of Frequently Used Acronyms
View the documentForeword
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentExecutive Summary
open this folder and view contentsCountry Profiles from Africa
close this folderCountry Profiles from Asia
View the documentSituation in Afghanistan and Among Afghan Refugees in Pakistan
View the documentSituation in Burma and Among Burmese Refugees in Thailand
View the documentPost-conflict Situation in East Timor
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View the documentAnnex: Travel Schedule
View the documentBack cover

Situation in Burma and Among Burmese Refugees in Thailand

April 22-29, 2001


Historical Context

Rather than being notable for its diverse ethnic history and rich natural resources, Burma is distinct as the setting of one of the longest-running civil wars in the world. Declared independent from British rule in 1948, Burma's pro-democracy leaders were assassinated even before their Union of Burma was officially established. In a post-independence leadership vacuum, internal conflicts escalated along political and ethnic lines: between democratic and communist militants, and the Burman (who comprise approximately 60 percent of total Burmese) dominated central government and several of the larger of Burma's over one hundred minority groups, including the Mon, Shan, Chin, Karen, and Rohingya (each distinguished by language, cultural and religious traditions, and adaptation to their physical environment). In March 1962 a military coup replaced the unstable civilian government with one-party rule. The policies instituted by Burman dictator General Ne Win included the "Burmese Way to Socialism," which prescribed a nationalized economy and the diversion of natural and human resources to support an expanding military machine, and a violent "Four Cuts Campaign," in which forced relocation, scorched earth tactics, and free-fire zones were employed to withdraw or avert life-sustaining resources from the ethnic civilian population.

In 1988, political resistance swelled into historic student-led demonstrations. The nationwide nonviolent protests were met with indiscriminate state violence in which thousands of anti-government protesters were killed. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and General Secretary of the National League for Democracy (NLD) Aung San Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest in 1989. In 1990 the military junta bowed to public pressure for democratic elections and promised to transfer power. However when the NLD won 59.9 percent of the popular vote and 82 percent of the parliamentary seats the junta reneged on its promise, upholding Suu Kyi's house arrest and further escalating military aggression.

Belying its self-appointed title as the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), Burma's current military regime has neither brokered peace nor stimulated development. Although cease-fires have been negotiated with some seventeen main insurgent groups since 1989, widespread state-sponsored human rights abuses remain the violent norm.1 Burma ranks among the poorest countries in the world; its schools and health system have collapsed; and it is home to a rapidly escalating HIV/AIDS epidemic - thanks in part to the fact that Burma has become one of the largest producers of heroin in the world. Ongoing internal skirmishes, military repression of ethnic minorities, forced relocations based on economic strategy, and pervasive poverty have resulted in a constant exodus of political and economic refugees.

Refugee Situation in Thailand

It is impossible even to approximate the number of internally displaced inside Burma. However, recent estimates of the total number of Burmese who in the last fifteen years have fled to neighboring countries hover around 1.5 million.2 About 9 percent live in refugee camps along the Thai/Burma border, primarily representing the Karen, Karenni, and Mon ethnic groups.3 A loose estimate of another several hundred thousand Burmese - inclusive of the ethnic Shan, who have been categorically denied refugee services by the Royal Thai Government (RTG) because of their perceived status as economic refugees - are reported to be living throughout Thailand as "illegal immigrants." Reflecting the global refugee phenomenon, women and girls account for 60 to 80 percent of the Burmese refugee population.

The RTG, whose country's resources and land have been drained by the seemingly intractable refugee crisis, has imposed increasingly severe restrictions on the rights and mobility of Burmese living in Thailand. The protections available to refugees are at best ambiguous and, often, imperiled. Because the RTG has not signed the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, no Burmese living in Thailand are officially recognized under international refugee law. Only "persons of concern," those evaluated by the RTG as direct victims of Burmese conflict, are officially permitted to receive humanitarian aid, primarily within camp settings. Thus, ethnic Burmese entering Thailand from regions in Burma that are not officially designated as conflict areas are denied services and live under the threat of forced repatriation, despite the fact that their political, civil, and economic rights have been repeatedly disavowed by the SPDC and Burmese military even after declarations of cease-fires.

Food and relief assistance to refugees living in camps is coordinated by the Burmese Border Consortium (BBC), "in cooperation with the RTG and in accordance with the regulations of the Thai Ministry of Interior (MOI)."4 BBC also cooperates with humanitarian aid partners which provide health and education services. The MOI oversees policing of the camps and refugee compliance in general. Within the last three years, the RTG has enlisted the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), whose mandate is registering, monitoring, and protecting refugees within camps and those who are newly arriving or who are being relocated from one refugee camp to another. UNHCR is also responsible for identifying and assisting "persons of concern" in urban areas. However, since the RTG's 1999 crackdown on "illegal immigrants," those judged by UNHCR (but not by the Thai government) to be "persons of concern" may be at increased risk of forced return to Burma.

The limited mandate of UNHCR, the active surveillance of MOI representatives within and without the camps, the necessity of the BBC and its partners to act in accordance with RTG policy, and the failure of the RTG to recognize the rights of all Burmese refugees - together have important implications for survivors of GBV.

Gender-based Violence


According to the international NGO Images Asia's review of the Burmese government's compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (ratified by Burma in 1997):

Women have been victims of the well-documented and pervasive human rights abuses also suffered by men, including forced labor on government construction projects, forced portering for the army, summary arrest, torture and extra-judicial execution. These and other human rights violations are committed sometimes in the course of military operations, but more often as part of the army's policy of repression of ethnic minority civilians. Women and girls are specifically targeted for rape and sexual harassment by soldiers. Many of the areas in Burma where soldiers rape women are not areas of active conflict, though they may have large numbers of standing troops. There has been little action on the part of the state to reduce the prevalence of sexual abuse by its military personnel or ensure that the perpetrators of these crimes are brought to justice.5 (Emphasis added.)

As this and other human rights reports attest, Burma is no exception to the rule of military violence against women and girls during conflict. Burma is exceptional, however, in that its military includes the highest number of child soldiers in the world. Use of child soldiers is itself an abuse, and may also be a factor in the abuses committed by the state against the civilian population: children can be more easily manipulated or forced to commit atrocities.

Testimony by survivors and witnesses of military aggression includes reports of gang rape, forced genital penetration by knives and other objects, mutilation of breasts and genitals, and more. Another striking aspect of the state violence perpetrated against women in Burma is that it is not limited to conflict zones; rather, it is an unsparing and unrestrained component of the Burmese military's state-supported reign over ethnic minority civilians. In her comprehensive account of sexual violence perpetrated by the Burmese military, Betsy Apple attributes the culture and prevalence of rape, enslavement, coerced sex, forced prostitution, and forced marriage to a "hierarchy of domination," in which violence, oppression, and exploitation are institutionalized military values, ultimately finding their target among the most vulnerable and disempowered: the bodies of ethnic minority women and girls.6

The notion of Burmese women's disempowerment runs counter to the SPDC official stance that in Burma "there is no gender disparity in personal relationships" and "women are accorded equal rights with men."7 Images Asia's CEDAW review quoted above argues otherwise, suggesting that in virtually all spheres, women are subordinate to men and subject to related gender-based abuses of power. Women victims of sexual harassment and violence within their communities or domestic violence in the home have limited legal recourse or community resources: police and the judiciary are both unreliable and not trusted, and social tradition and family pressure conspire to discourage reporting or otherwise acknowledging abuse.8

Prostitution inside Burma has reportedly increased dramatically as a result of the civil war, as has sex trafficking of migrants.9 In addition to the prevailing culture of men frequenting prostitutes, widespread sexual violence within Burma, the associated stigma of losing one's virginity before marriage, and the breakdown of traditional family structures have precipitated the rise in women and girls entering the sex industry; another precipitant is certainly the lack of economic options, particularly for ethnic Burmese women living in rural areas. In 1997 the World Health Organization estimated the female illiteracy rate within Burma to be 70 percent. Despite the Burmese government's stated commitment to improving female access to education, subsequent calculations place the illiteracy rate even higher, at 80 percent, among women living in conflict zones or remote areas.10 It is not surprising that of the estimated forty thousand Burmese women trafficked each year into Thailand's factories, brothels, and domestic work, those at greatest risk are reportedly women from remote regions of Burma.11


GBV against Burmese refugees in Thailand is as difficult to quantify as violence against women inside Burma. Thailand-based Burmese women's organizations periodically release information on the sexual subjugation and exploitation of women by the Thai military, police, and immigration officials, at checkpoints and border crossings, detention centers, brothels, and in and surrounding camps.12 One contributing factor to the perpetuation of such violence is the lack of legal protection afforded Burmese refugees in Thailand and survivors' associated fear of further abuse by police officers and military. Another equally pervasive factor is the inconsistent protections available to women under Thai law, reflecting traditions that favor male domination. For example, although non-marital rape is considered a serious crime under Thai law, proof of non-consent falls to the victim. This has especially devastating implications for trafficked sex workers, who are typically treated as offenders, detained, and required to pay fines and finance the expenses of their deportation.

Other Thai legal provisions generally discourage refugee women and girls from seeking protection against violence perpetrated by their host community or fellow refugee community. In cases of statutory rape, an offender may opt to marry his victim, thus avoiding punishment. Financial compensation for the rape of a married woman (by someone other than her husband) is given to the husband rather than to the survivor; the crime of marital rape does not exist, nor is the phenomenon of domestic violence formally recognized in Thai law.13 In camp settings, more severe cases of domestic or refugee community violence against women are referred to the Burmese camp committees, which are, without exception, male dominated. Rare accounts of Burmese women successfully charging Thai military, police, or Thai civilians with sexual assault, if settled, have been according to customary compensation.14

Current GBV-related Programming

Ethnic Burmese women and girls are at risk for GBV at many stages: in their home country, in flight, in the host country, and during repatriation. As such, Burmese refugees typify the experience of refugee women and girls worldwide. Even so, what was remarkable during site visits along the Thai/Burma border was not the prevalence of violence but rather its invisibility and the lack of standard GBV prevention and response activities. Although Burmese refugees have been living in Thailand some fifteen years, and accounts of sexual abuse by the Burmese military have been recorded by multiple Burmese and international human rights organizations, no camps or organizations have ongoing education, services, or protocols specifically targeting survivors of GBV. Limited activities focus on immediate protection of the victim and are the result of an isolated few international NGOs that have taken it upon themselves to establish links with local women's organizations and with UNHCR to create a network that facilitates UNHCR intervention. Nonetheless, UNHCR options for pursuing cases of GBV are restricted by the lack of protection afforded refugees by the RTG and Thai law.

Karen Camps:NuPo and Umpiem Mai

Both NuPo and Umpiem Mai have well-developed preventive and curative primary and reproductive health services systems serving the ethnic Karen community inside the camps. Each camp also has an established network of Karen women's representatives, responsible for monitoring the needs of women and communicating those needs to the women's affairs committee and the camp council. In 1999, elected members of the women's network formed the Mae Sot-based Karen Refugee Camps Women's Development Group (KRWDG). Members of KRWDG are currently receiving skills and NGO development training in order to improve their capacity to assist women's representatives within the camps and to respond to the needs of Karen women.

In interviews with those living and working in the Karen camps, as well as with health care providers, women's representatives, and members of the KRWDG, all expressed concern about violence against women, including domestic violence, sexual assault and coercion by Thai military and Thai civilians, domestic servitude, prostitution, and forced marriage. (Notably, reports of Burmese military atrocities were missing from anecdotes of violence, which may reflect low exposure by the Karen. Most Karen living in Nu Po, for example, have been refugees for many years and were not directly subject to Burmese military aggression.) Health care providers from one international NGO designed and facilitated two trainings on general issues of violence against women and human rights, in which many of the women's representatives participated. Still, actual GBV case numbers within the camp populations are impossible to obtain and interventions - even by international and local NGOs that have articulated a real concern about GBV - appear to be ad hoc.

In NuPo camp, women's representatives respond to five to six reports of domestic violence per month, initially providing informal "education" to the couple about mutual respect, and in cases of escalating abuse, reporting the couple to the Burmese camp council. In the last several years, there have been only two instances in which the NuPo camp council placed restrictions on husbands, committing them each to camp labor and confinement for a maximum of one month. The newly assigned leader of the Umpiem Mai camp denied any knowledge of violence, deferring to the chief of the Karen Women's Organization, but nevertheless suggested that training on GBV might be worthwhile. In the recent memory of an Umpiem Mai medical worker, only one reported case of domestic violence resulted in medical treatment (there was no written record of the source of injury). One case of incest by a stepfather concluded with the perpetrator's voluntary departure from the camp. Similarly, Thai authorities resolved two cases of rape by Thai camp police by retiring one rapist and reassigning the other. Neither rape survivor, according to camp medical staff, requested or received medical follow-up. Nor have Karen women living in Umpiem Mai come forward requesting medical assistance related to Burmese military victimizations or sexual injuries incurred during flight. Although all new arrivals in Umpiem Mai receive medical exams, there is no protocol for identifying or supporting victims of GBV. In NuPo, where medical services are provided on an as-requested basis, there are also no protocols for identifying or responding to survivors of any kind of sexual assault. In both camps, rates of sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies were reported to be low to negligible.

The existence in the last two years of UNHCR in the NuPo and Umpiem Mai camps has served a preventive function. Though UNHCR does not have a daily presence in the camps, an international camp-based NGO has facilitated links between UNHCR and the women's committees, identifying for UNHCR some of the most vulnerable women so as to help the women circumvent violence or exploitation. However, UNHCR's ability to ensure protection in identified cases of violence is unclear, as is their relationship with the local MOI authorities. For their part, MOI authorities claimed that victims of violence have access to police protection and legal assistance to the same degree as the local Thai community; yet, these same MOI authorities could recall no instances in which a refugee utilized such assistance.

Mae Sot

The city of Mae Sot is one of several centers for trafficking across the Burmese border. With an estimated sixteen brothels and a strong textile industry, Mae Sot is often a holding ground for "illegal immigrants" crossing into Thailand.15 Protections for non-registered refugees living in and around Mae Sot are essentially non-existent - instead, they are at fairly constant risk of summary deportation. Support services are similarly limited, with the notable exception of the Mae Tao Clinic. The most well-established and long-standing organization serving the Burmese community in Mae Sot, the clinic's free health services are provided by a large health staff that is supervised by the clinic's director, a Burmese refugee doctor whose commitment to the refugee community (and ability to win their trust as well as the cooperation of the RTG) is legendary. Recognizing the need for increased understanding of and response to issues of GBV, the clinic's director has attempted to facilitate awareness raising and psychosocial trainings for her health staff. The Mae Tao Clinic also supports women's issues by sponsoring the KRWDG and other local Burmese women's organizations. Still, there is no specific programming within the clinic targeting the medical or psychosocial needs of survivors of violence, nor is there any system for documenting violence against women. There is one organization in Mae Sot that provides safe housing for exploited sex workers, but it does not have any supportive interventions specifically addressing the effects of violence, in spite of clients such as the one described below by the organization's director:

Trafficked into prostitution at 13 years old, she worked at one of the brothels in Mae Sot that is run by a Thai and serves both Burmese and Thai men. The first time she was approached by a customer, she refused but was forced. The superintendent received a higher price for her "deflowering." As punishment for her initial resistance, she was transferred to another brothel. After several sexual relationships, she was taken by one customer and deposited in a field, where she was again raped by several men. Vomiting blood as well as bleeding from her vagina, she made her way to the roadside, where she was picked up by police who returned her to the brothel. The superintendent punished her by shackling her hands.

Given this account, it is perhaps not surprising that one of the primary concerns of refugee women seeking reproductive health services at the Mae Tao Clinic is complications related to abortions. Because abortion is illegal in both Burma and Thailand, Burmese women use traditional methods to stimulate abortions, the most alarming of which involves piercing the uterus with a sharpened stick.16

Karenni Camps: Mae Hon Son Region

The Karenni National Women's Organization (KNWO) is an umbrella NGO whose members live primarily in and around three camps that provide refuge for the ethnic Karenni in Thailand's northern province of Mae Hon Son. The KNWO's mandate is to address the political and human rights of Karenni women living in Burma and in the refugee camps. In an informal focus group, representatives of KNWO roughly estimated the percentage of Karenni refugee women exposed to GBV at 60 percent. Even though this number may seem exceedingly high, it, at the very least, underscores GBV as a problem in the Karenni community. Family quarrels account for the highest percentage of violence, with rape by Burmese military and Thai civilians following second and third. Although the KNWO representatives have no documentation or formal data to confirm their impressions of the high degree of GBV encountered by Karenni refugee women, anecdotal evidence illustrates a range of violence, including sexual abuse and rape by Burmese military, rape and murder by Thai civilians, sexual abuse by Thai police, forced marriage by Thai military, rape by Karenni men inside the camps, and domestic violence. None of the cases related by the KNWO representatives resulted in prosecution of the perpetrators. Members of the KNWO, like their Karen counterparts, have participated in at least one training on issues of violence against women and human rights. Some also participated in basic training on psychosocial issues affecting survivors and were in the process of establishing a safe house for women and girls within one camp. In situations of domestic violence, the Karenni women's representatives in the camps follow the same general procedure applied by Karen women in the NuPo and Umpiem Mai camps: they address the issue directly with the couple, advising the man "not to be so hard on the woman"; if resolution of the violence is not forthcoming, the case is reported to the camp committee.

A Karenni camp committee leader asserted that domestic violence within his camp was very rare - he could only recall two or three cases within the last six years. He allowed that in domestic violence cases involving serious injury, a perpetrator might be imprisoned for three to seven days, but it was more likely that the majority of cases would be resolved within the family. Other male representatives of the camp committee concurred that physical violence between husbands and wives was a rare occurrence but suggested that verbal arguments regularly flare up because of poor economic conditions within the camp and because wives accuse their husbands of failing to provide for the family. Although requests from women for separations and divorces are high, particularly among new arrivals, the camp committee views them as passing manifestations of extreme stress and rarely grants them. Reports to the camp committee of other forms violence - committed by the Thai authorities or local Thai community - are nonexistent. Similarly, representatives of the Karenni camp Ministry of Health recalled only two or three domestic violence cases and two rape cases during their ten years of providing services. There are no established health protocols for intervening in cases of GBV. Rates of sexually transmitted diseases are low, and the Ministry of Health has received no reports of unwanted pregnancy.


An obvious discrepancy exists between women's and human rights organizations' analyses of the extent of GBV experienced by Burmese refugees and the knowledge of GBV among other refugee representatives and service providers. This discrepancy may be the result of a heightened sensitivity to GBV issues among women advocates: Burmese women's rights organizations have proliferated within Thailand and are a major source of information about issues, including GBV, affecting Burmese women. Their accomplishments cannot be underestimated, given that restrictions imposed by the RTG severely undermine their mobility, access to resources, and ability to network with local and international women's organizations. Nevertheless, their reports of violence have not had a significant impact on GBV programming for refugee women living along the Thai/Burma border.

Another factor contributing to this discrepancy may be service providers' discomfort and lack of familiarity with GBV issues. All those interviewed had limited to no training in responding to violence against women; several expressed a desire to expand programming but felt they lacked the experience or knowledge to integrate GBV protocols into existing health and social services. Notably, two health care providers had facilitated seminars on GBV within the camps, but each expressed concerns about how to follow up. Also notable were the attempts of at least one international NGO to establish a basic system of reporting to UNHCR so that survivors could receive protective services, even if nominal.

Yet another factor is the silence about GBV that characterizes the Burmese community's response to victimization. Traditional methods of dealing with violence against women in Burmese society are executed at the family level, and public accounting results in social stigmatization. Virginity is esteemed among unmarried women, and monogamy is a mandate for married women, such that rape is a source of shame for the Burmese victim and her family. Karenni women's representatives recounted several adolescent refugees committing suicide rather than revealing their rapes by MOI officials. Legal recourse is virtually nonexistent in Burma for victims of family or state-perpetrated violence.

Likewise, given the tenuous rights of Burmese refugees, legal recourse is largely unavailable in Thailand. In many instances reporting may increase a refugee's risk of exploitation and forced repatriation. The MOI, border patrol, and Thai military appear to enjoy relative impunity in cases of sexual violence against refugees, and the laws within Thailand favor patriarchal traditions. UNHCR, international, and local NGOs working with refugees must comply with the regulations and practices of the RTG, a delicate position from which to advocate for GBV survivors' rights if violations are committed by representatives of the RTG.

Additional challenges to designing and implementing GBV services for Burmese refugees include the diversity of ethnic groups represented, variations in exposure to violence in Burma, and variations in exposure to violence in Thailand. The range of traditions and experience represented by the Burmese refugees - as well as the environmental differences among refugees living in camps compared to those absorbed into cities such as Mae Sot - requires creative and highly adaptive GBV interventions.

In spite of the difficulties of addressing GBV among refugees living along the Thai/Burma border, there are existing resources within Thailand that may be exploited to develop programming. The first is the network of refugee women's organizations; each expressed an interest in expanding their knowledge and resources regarding GBV. UNHCR and international NGOs working in the camps similarly appeared interested in developing more concrete programming for refugee survivors. International and Thai women's organizations, mostly based in larger cities such as Bangkok and Chiang Mai, may be able to contribute their expertise to service providers working in camps.

Thailand and Burma are both signatories of CEDAW and thus have formally committed to improve the conditions of women. In February 2000 the two countries' ministries of health agreed to combat health problems along the Thai/Burma border.17 This spirit of cooperation may provide one portal for advancing programming for GBV, both in Thailand and Burma, and allow for the adoption of legislation that addresses all forms of GBV, especially domestic violence and forced prostitution.


1. The RTG should develop a specific policy outlining a code of conduct for government security and police representatives working with refugees - including MOI, military, and border patrols - and institute mechanisms for enforcing that policy. Severe penalties should be levied for any members of the Thai security forces, or the Thai community in general, who participate in forced prostitution, or in any other way support the sexual exploitation and assault of Burmese women and girls.

2. The RTG should work with UNHCR in establishing systems of confidential reporting for cases of GBV so as to ensure refugees the right to safety and security. It should also establish mechanisms for prosecution of GBV crimes should the survivors seek prosecution.

3. UNHCR should provide training to all refugee communities on basic refugee rights, including legal recourse in cases of GBV committed by fellow refugees or the host community.

4. Members of the BBC should establish strategies to address GBV throughout refugee camps in Thailand, with specific provisions for: 1) accommodating the needs of culturally diverse refugee populations; 2) creating a sectoral response that identifies paths of intervention for health, psychosocial, education, and security sectors; and 3) coordination among the sectors and with representatives of the women's committees and the camp councils. The strategies should be designed with the full and ongoing participation of all involved in their implementation, with priority attention given to members of the refugee community, especially camp leadership structures and women's committees.

5. For the health sector, strategies should include: methods of confidential and active screening for health providers; conducting rape exams; and collecting and monitoring GBV-related health data. For the psychosocial sector (largely comprised of women's committees) strategies should include: supportive interventions for survivors; creating safe spaces for survivors; establishing links with other sectors; and conducting basic education in the community about GBV-related issues and services. For the education sector, strategies should include sensitization curricula (that may be implemented by youth organizations) introducing basic education to adolescents about healthy relationships, safe touch, and access to assistance. For the security sector (including UNHCR protection officers and MOI officials) strategies should include methods of immediate assistance, police reporting, referrals for prosecution, data collection, and coordination.

6. Trainings to introduce the strategies should engage the expertise of GBV-related Thai and Burmese organizations in Chiang Mai and Bangkok and should be based on a training of trainers model in which Burmese women and men can provide ongoing trainings to members of their communities.

7. UNHCR, MOI, and the BBC should be responsible for ongoing oversight of implementation of strategies and for coordination of GBV-related activities and data collection. Mechanisms should be introduced to regularly evaluate data and adjust programming accordingly. Data should also be used to conduct ongoing advocacy and facilitate communication with the RTG about the nature and scope of GBV among the refugee population.

8. UNHCR should facilitate ongoing participatory education campaigns targeting refugees living outside of the camps on issues of GBV. UNHCR should also solidify links with health and other organizations providing services to non-camp refugees and support those organizations' capacity to address GBV.


1 Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, Fear and Hope: Displaced Burmese Women in Burma and Thailand (New York, 2000), 3.

2 Images Asia, Alternative Perspectives, Other Voices: Assessing Gender Equality in Burma (Bangkok, 1999), 2.

3 Memorandum, Burmese Border Consortium (BBC), Refugee Population Figures (Bangkok, 2000), 1.

4 BBC, Program Report for January-June 2000 (Bangkok 2000), ii.

5 Images Asia, Alternative Perspectives, Other Voices, 3.

6 B. Apple, School for Rape: The Burmese Military and Sexual Violence, EarthRights International (Bangkok, 1998), 13.

7Equality, Development and Peace for Women: National Report; cited in, Images Asia, Alternative Perspectives, Other Voices, 1.

8 Images Asia, Alternative Perspectives, Other Voices, 27.

9 National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, Burma: The Current State of Women - Conflict Area Specific (Bangkok, 2000), 27.

10 Images Asia, Alternative Perspectives, Other Voices, 28.

11 Human Rights Documentation Unit and Burmese Women's Union, Cycle of Suffering (Bangkok, 2000), 10.

12 See the monthly newsletters of the Burmese Women's Union, accessible on-line at www.freeburma.org.

13 World Organization Against Torture, Violence Against Women in Thailand (Geneva, 1998), 15.

14 Images Asia, Alternative Perspectives, Other Voices, 70.

15 Burmese Women's Union, Cycle of Suffering (Bangkok, 2000), 46.

16 Burmese Women's Union, Cycle of Suffering, 81.

17 Mae Tao Clinic, Annual Report 2000 (Mae Sot 2001), 10.

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