06/20/2011, 00.00
MYANMAR
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Aung San Suu Kyi asks for "peace" for her birthday. Kachin raped and killed by the military

Yesterday the opposition leader turned 66. In a speech at the headquarters of the NLD, she calls on all parties to "cooperate" for the good of the country and development. But in the north, on the border with China, army violence continues. Ethnic minority women raped and killed.
Yangon (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Aung San Suu Kyi sees peace as the most important value for the development of Myanmar and is calling for "cooperation" to achieve the goal. But in the country are repeated cases of violence, especially in the north, where the conflict between the Burmese government army and Kachin rebel militias has exploded once again. Human rights activists denounce recent cases of rape and murder of ethnic minority women at the hands of a group of soldiers.

Yesterday, at the headquarters of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Yangon, the Burmese opposition leader celebrated her birthday. The "Lady" - as she is affectionately called by supporters - turned 66, after having spent 15 of the last 21 under arrest for her fight for human rights in Myanmar. "To proceed with the development and prosperity - said Aung San Suu Kyi (pictured with her son Kim Aris) - the first thing you need is a country of peace." For this, the woman said, "My birthday wish is that we can all live in peace." The Nobel Peace Laureate calls all parties to "cooperation" because the efforts of one person or organization are not enough. Meanwhile in her honour, her supporters have dubbed June 19, as "Women's Day” in Burma.

But while the opposition leader calls for peace, winds of war and violence arrive from Myanmar especially in the north, in Kachin State, on the border with China. The pro-human rights activist group Kachin Women's Association Thailand (Kwat) has denounced the rape of seven women from the ethnic minority at the hands of government troops stationed in the area to counter the activities of Kachin Independent Army (KIA) rebel militias. Following the rape, four of them died.

The cases occurred in recent weeks in or near Bhamo district dating to June 17 last. In Myanmar, rape is used by the government as a "weapon of war", there are numerous cases documented by pro-human rights associations and activists. In 2002, the Shan Women's Action Network published a report entitled "Licence to rape", which showed that between 1996 and 2001 there were 173 cases of sexual violence at the hands of the government against ethnic minority women. Of these, 61% were gang rape, and about 25% ended with the death of the victim.
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