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U.S. Verifies Military Rape in Burma - 2002-12-26


A U.S. newspaper says the United States has verified claims that Burmese troops raped hundreds of ethnic minority women and girls in northeastern Shan state.

The Washington Post reports today (Thursday) the U.S. State Department sent an investigator to the Burma-Thailand border in August to probe allegations by human rights groups that Burmese soldiers systematically raped some 625 women and girls.

Two human rights groups, the Thai-based Shan Human Rights Foundation and the Shan Women's Action Network, made the rape allegations in June.

The Post quotes the U.S. investigator as saying he was able to interview victims, who told him they had been gang-raped by soldiers within the last five years. One of the victims was reported to be a 13-year-old girl.

A State Department report on the investigation is said to call on Washington to continue to pressure the Burmese military government to end the rapes and punish those responsible.

The Burmese government has long denied the rape claims.

Information for this report is provided by Reuters.

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