Prayer for Burma: Day twenty four

Sarah Armitage of Partners Relief and Development Facebook page this morning wrote this:

I thought I had a good awareness of the wickedness and evil that man can carry out against man. I was wrong.

I thought I had seen the lowest form of immorality and filth that another human being could stoop to. I was wrong.

I thought I had an understanding of the schemes of the devil – I had hoped that maybe even he had a limit to the depravity he could influence. I was wrong.

Since I have been working on behalf of the people of Burma I have read countless reports of human rights violations and brutal attacks carried out by the Burma Army – all of which have broken my heart and stirred me into action – but when I recently read the story of Nhkum Hkawn Din I was shocked to my very core, I felt as though I had been punched hard in the stomach.

I want to share Nhkum Hkawn Din’s story with you. It will be hard to read, but it needs to be read.*

On 27th July 2008 near Nam Sai village, Kachin State, Nhkum Hkawn Din left her house to take food to her brother who was working in a paddy field on their parent’s farm. When her brother returned home later that day not having seen her, the family realised that something was wrong. After searching most of the evening, she was reported missing.

Towards the end of the third day of searching, her clothes and shoes were found alongside the basket she had been carrying to her brother. Her body, naked and mutilated, was finally found only 200 metres away from a Burma Army checkpoint. According to family members she had been gang raped and then further violated with knives. Her skull had been crushed beyond recognition and her facial features obliterated. Her eyes had been gouged out and her throat was cut. She had also been stabbed in the stomach and on her right side.

Local witnesses say that they saw Nhkum Hkawn Din being followed by Burma Army soldiers on her way to the paddy field and that they saw the soldiers, one of who was recognised as a Colonel, leave the area a little later on.

The local army commanders have admitted that one of their lower ranking soldiers, Soe Thu Win, carried out the attack. He was recognised by witnesses during a line-up and later confessed under interrogation. It has been stated that he will be sentenced to 20 years in jail without trial. The Colonel was not interrogated and has since been relocated.

The family have been offered $500 plus some food (1 bag of rice, cooking oil, 5 cans of milk and some sugar) as compensation.

There has been no official investigation and once again the Burma Army are getting away with murder.

Rape is systematically used as a weapon of war against ethnic minorities in Burma, more than a thousand cases have been documented. There is also a culture of impunity, where no action is taken against soldiers who rape. On June 19th The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1820 noting that rape and sexual violence can be described as a crime against humanity.

Our governments and the UN need to be reminded of once more of the true nature of this brutal and oppressive regime. We want to stand with those who are calling for Burma’s generals to be taken to the International Criminal Court over
the systematic use of rape by the Burmese Army. Please write to your MP, MEP or State Representative and tell them Nhkum Hkawn Din’s story – and ask them to help ensure that justice is served and such a thing never happens again. Please also consider forwarding this message to other friends and encourage them to speak out.

Martin Luther once said, “The only thing needed for wicked men to prosper is for good men to do nothing”.

Nhkum Hkawn Din is one of Burma’s voiceless. The story of her life and her tragic death must be told by those whom God has given a voice to. Us.

Sarah Armitage
Partners Relief & Development

*Information source = http:/www.burmacampaign.org.uk

Other reports add that Nhkum Hkawn Din was only 15 years old.

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