Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Kachin woman still missing after one year

Wednesday, 31 October 2012 13:25 Mizzima News

More than one year on, Sumlut Roi Ja, an ethnic Kachin woman whose husband said she was abducted by the Burmese Army, is still missing, Burma Campaign UK (BCUK) noted in a press statement on Tuesday.

Sumlut Roi Ja, who has been missing for one year, was last seen in the custody of Burmese army soldiers. Photo: Mizzima

Sumlut Roi Ja, 28, who was arrested by Burmese Army soldiers on October 28, 2011, was abducted while working on a farm near her village, Hkai Bang, located close to the Chinese border, said family members.

Her husband and father-in-law were also arrested and were forced at gunpoint to carry corn to a military camp, Battalion 321, at Mubum, before escaping.

Sumlut Roi Ja was not able to escape. After her arrest, she was seen at a military camp, according to several witnesses. There are grave concerns that Sumlut Roi Ja has been raped and killed, BCUK said.

Sumlut Roi Ja’s husband, Dau Lum, took the case all the way to the Supreme Court in Naypyitaw, but the case was dismissed. The army denied involvement in her disappearance.

Targeting innocent civilians during conflicts and forced disappearances are war crimes.

The Burmese Army soldiers who are responsible for Sumlut Roi Ja’s disappearance must be held accountable, said BCUK.

“There should be justice and accountability for soldiers and their commanders who committed such crimes.” said Wai Hnin, Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK.

Human rights groups have documented cases of rape by soldiers in the Burmese army. No soldiers have ever been prosecuted for such crimes.

“While the international community is praising President Thein Sein for his skin deep reforms, his soldiers keep raping and killing innocent ethnic civilians. The international community must not keep ignoring human rights abuses just because they happen in ethnic states instead of Rangoon,” said a BCUK spokesperson.

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