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Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday appealed for an end to rapes by troops in her country, in a video address to her sister Nobel laureates in Montebello, Canada.
Violence against women, the Nobel Peace Prize winner said, “is a very real problem.”
“Rape is used in my country as a weapon against those who only want to live in peace, who only want to assert their basic human rights. It is used as a weapon by armed forces to intimidate the ethnic nationalities and to divide our country,” she said.
“Every case of rape divides our country between peoples, between genders, between the armed forces and ordinary citizens, between ethnic nationalities,” she added. “So we must do everything we can to put an end to this.”
Suu Kyi, 65, was released in November shortly after the country’s first election in 20 years, having spent most of the past two decades in detention.
In her recorded address to the annual conference of the Nobel Women’s Initiative at the Montebello resort 100 kilometres east of Ottawa she stressed the need for education and dialogue to eradicate rape as a tool of war.
Suu Kyi also called for international pressure on Burma’s new government to free more than 400 women political prisoners. “All they have done is to work for democracy and human rights,” she said.