Contrary to reports from Burma's ruling military regime on the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) (the plan to come out of the 1995 United Nations World Conference on Women), women in Myanmar do not enjoy equal rights with men. This paper, which is structured around the BPfA's critical areas of concern, reveals that military expansion and gross mismanagement of the economy have resulted in extreme poverty, systematic abuse of human rights and multiple problems for women and girls, particularly in rural areas and regions populated by ethnic minorities. The impacts of this include: food scarcity and malnutrition, displacement, and increased vulnerability to being trafficked. Women also suffer from the widespread use of rape as a strategy of war and denial of the right to legal redress. In addition, fewer than one third of girls who enrol in primary school complete primary education and non-Burman schools are closed because of anti-ethnic nationality policies. This paper calls for genuine political change and the restoration of the rule of law in Burma. The document specifically recommends immediate implementation of a nationwide cease-fire, withdrawal of all Burma Army troops stationed in ethnic states, and dialogue between the ruling regime, the National League for Democracy and ethnic group representatives.
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