Burmese government urged to investigate the enforced disappearance of Sumlut Roi Ja

    493

    On the third anniversary of the abduction of Sumlut Roi Ja, an ethnic Kachin woman from Burma, we, the undersigned organizations, call on the Burmese government to thoroughly investigate her enforced disappearance and hold the perpetrators accountable.

    On 28 October 2011, Burma Army soldiers from Light Infantry Battalion 321 abducted 28-year-old Sumlut Roi Ja along with her husband and father-in-law from their family farm near Hkaibang Village, Momauk Township, Kachin State.

    Soldiers suspected the three had ties to the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) – an ethnic armed opposition group. The soldiers ordered the three at gunpoint to carry corn to their outpost on Mubum mountain. Sumlut Roi Ja’s husband and father-in-law managed to escape, evading the soldiers’ gunfire, on the way. Witnesses saw Sumlut Roi Ja at the camp several days before she disappeared.

    Sumlut Roi Ja’s family members filed numerous petitions asking authorities to disclose her fate or whereabouts. However, both military and civilian authorities have consistently refused to investigate Sumlut Roi Ja’s disappearance and prosecute the soldiers who abducted her. In March 2012, Burma’s Supreme Court rejected a writ of habeas corpus submitted by Sumlut Roi Ja’s husband two months earlier. The Supreme Court claimed there was no evidence that the army had detained Sumlut Roi Ja before her disappearance. Burma Army officials even denied having detained her. Sumlut Roi Ja is still missing and presumed dead.

    The case of Sumlut Roi Ja underscores the ongoing serious human rights violations perpetrated by the Burma Army in Kachin State, including the deliberate targeting of civilians in conflict, extra-judicial killings, arbitrary detention, and violence against women. More than 70 cases of sexual violence by Burma Army soldiers against women and young girls in Kachin State and Northern Shan State have been recorded between the resumption of conflict between the Burma Army and the KIA in June 2011 and June 2014. At least 20 of the victims were killed.

    As 2014 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Chair, Burma has a particular responsibility to uphold the principles of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD), which stipulates that all individuals have a right to life and to personal liberty and security and that no person shall be subject to arbitrary arrest, search, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty. The AHRD also recognizes the right of every person to an effective and enforceable remedy for violations of rights granted by the constitution or by law.

    We, the undersigned organizations, urge the Burmese government to:

    • Establish an independent and impartial parliamentary commission with a mandate to investigate the disappearance of Sumlut Roi Ja and identify the perpetrators.
    • Ensure that perpetrators in this case are brought to justice, regardless of rank or position.
    • Sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED) and incorporate its provisions into national law as a matter of priority.
    • Immediately cease violations of international humanitarian and human rights law against ethnic minority civilians in conflict and ceasefire areas, including violence against women.
    1. 88 Generation (Peace & Open Society)
    2. Action Committee for Democracy Development
    3. Action for Dignity and Development
    4. All Arakan Students’ & Youths’ Congress
    5. ALTSEAN-Burma
    6. Arakan Youth Network and Development Organization
    7. Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances
    8. Asia-Pacific Solidarity Coalition
    9. Bago EITI
    10. Bago Youth Network
    11. Bridge – Kachin
    12. Burma Campaign UK
    13. Burma Partnership
    14. Center for Youth and Social Harmony
    15. Chin Youth Network
    16. Civil Authorize Negotiate Organization
    17. Community Response Group
    18. Community Youth Center – Karenni
    19. Cordillera Peoples Alliance (The Philippines)
    20. Danu Youth Network
    21. Democratic Party for New Society
    22. Denmark Kachin Community
    23. Equality Myanmar
    24. Ethnic Youth Network
    25. Farmer Rights and Development Organization
    26. Farmers Union- Magwe
    27. FIDH – International Federation for Human Rights
    28. Focus on the Global South
    29. Fortify Rights
    30. Forum for Democracy in Burma
    31. Free Burma Campaign (South Africa)
    32. Free Burma Coalition-Philippines
    33. Genuine People’s Servants
    34. Green Network Sustainable Environment Group
    35. Grow Back for Posterity
    36. Hands in Unity
    37. Highlander Associations (Cambodia)
    38. Humanity Institute
    39. Human Rights Defenders and Promoters Network
    40. IFI Watch Myanmar
    41. Info Birmanie
    42. Institute for Asian Democracy
    43. Jinghpaw Laili Laika hte Htunghking Hpung
    44. Justice and Peace Commission – Catholic Bishop Conference Myanmar
    45. Justice for Peace Foundation (Thailand)
    46. Kachin Alliance
    47. Kachin Association Japan
    48. Kachin Association Norway
    49. Kachin Association of Australia
    50. Kachin Canadian Association
    51. Kachin Community in Europe
    52. Kachin Communities Netherlands
    53. Kachin Development Networking Group
    54. Kachin Farmers Network
    55. Kachin National Organization
    56. Kachin Peace Network
    57. Kachin State Urban Rural Mission
    58. Kachin Women Association Japan
    59. Kachin Women Peace Network
    60. Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand
    61. Kachin Women Union
    62. Kachin Youth Central –Ginjaw Ramma
    63. Kachin Youth Organization
    64. Kaladan Development Foundation
    65. Kapaeeng Foundation (Bangladesh)
    66. Karen Development Committee
    67. Karen Environmental and Social Action Network
    68. Karenni National Women’s Organization
    69. Karenni Network of Women Organizations
    70. Karenni State Youth Network
    71. Karenni Youth and Women Organization
    72. Karen Women Empowerment Group
    73. Karen Women’s Union
    74. Karen Youth Network
    75. Karuna Myanmar Social Services
    76. Kham Ho Center
    77. Lachid Literature and Culture Association
    78. Lawyers’ Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples (Nepal)
    79. Magwe EITI Watch Group
    80. Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability
    81. Myit Makha Watch Group
    82. Naga Youth Network
    83. National Alliance of Indigenous Peoples Organizations in the Philippines
    84. National Network for Education Reform
    85. National Youth Forum
    86. Nau Shawng Education Network
    87. ND-Burma
    88. Network for Democracy and Development
    89. New Zealand Kachin Community
    90. NGO Federation of Nepalese Indigenous Nationalities (Nepal)
    91. NGO Gender Group
    92. Paoh Youth Organization
    93. Partners Relief & Development
    94. Paung Ku
    95. Public Network Bago
    96. Pyo Khin Thit Foundation – Maubin
    97. Rainfall Gender Study Group
    98. Research and Translation Consultancy Cluster
    99. Sha-it Social Development Foundation
    100. Shan Youth Network
    101. Shwe Gas Movement
    102. Social, Economic and Gender Research Institute
    103. Spectrum
    104. Students and Youth Congress of Burma
    105. Taang Students and Youth Organization
    106. Taang Women Organization
    107. Taang Youth Network
    108. Tavoyan Women’s Union
    109. Tavoyan Youth Network
    110. The Seagull-Mandalay
    111. Thuriya Sandar Environmental Protection
    112. Triangle Women Support Group
    113. Union Lahu Youth Organizations
    114. Voice of Women
    115. We For All (Japan)
    116. Women Initiative Network for Peace
    117. Women Peace and Security Initiative
    118. Women Peace Network – Arakan
    119. Women Political Action 2015 – Myanmar
    120. Women’s Organizations Network Myanmar
    121. Won-Lark Foundation
    122. Wunpawng Ning Htoi
    123. Yangon School of Political Science
    124. Zomi Youth Network

    Source: Burma Campaign UK