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Cablegate: Latest Gob Report On Shan Rapes Finds Five Out Of

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

161028Z Oct 02

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 RANGOON 001343

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/BCLTV
CINCPAC FOR FPA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM BM TH
SUBJECT: LATEST GOB REPORT ON SHAN RAPES FINDS FIVE OUT OF
173 CASES VERIFIABLE

REF: (A) RANGOON 1070 (B) RANGOON 1304

1. (U) Summary: On October 16, the GOB presented results of
its latest investigation of the allegations contained in the
Shan Human Rights Foundation's "Licence to Rape." The GOB
claims that it has now re-investigated all 173 cases and
found that only five cases bear even any "similarity" to the
incidents in the SHRF report. The GOB has invited UN SR
Pinheiro to visit Shan State but was not specific as to what
investigative activities, if any, he will engage in. We
should insist that SR Pinheiro take an active role in looking
into the SHRF allegations when he visits Shan State as there
must be a better accounting of what actually happened. The
GOB's latest approach to the SHRF report shows that they may
be developing an understanding that they cannot just deny
allegations of human rights abuses, but the GOB's numbers
just do not add up. End Summary.

2. (U) On October 16, the GOB, in the person of the Deputy
Minister of Foreign Affairs, briefed all of the chiefs of
diplomatic missions and heads of UN agencies on the results
of the GOB's latest investigation of the allegations
contained in the May 2002 Shan Human Rights Foundation's
"License to Rape." This second GOB investigation was only
motivated by the realization that the whitewash that the GOB
tried to pass off in their report of their original
investigation in August 2002 (see Ref A) earned them nothing
but skepticism and derision from the international human
rights community and the press. The DepFonMin stressed
repeatedly that this investigation was "on site, on the
ground, and personal."

3. (U) Post previously detailed some of the findings of
this latest GOB report that had been passed to us while it
was in draft stage. Two of the reported incidents vary
considerably from what we had been told in confidence by a
seniior military officer in early October (see Ref B). A
summary of the latest GOB findings is as follows (post is
faxing the GOB summary of the five cases to EAP/BCLTV and the
GOB is translating the complete report of the investigations
of the 173 cases into English for distribution). Case
numbers refer to corresponding cases in the SHRF report:

- Case 3: Some confusion on actual name of the perpetrator,
but it was an attempted, and unsuccessful, sexual assault.
The attacker apologized to the victim publicly and paid a
monetary compensation to her. The victim did not press any
further charges.

-- Case 53: Villagers reported the rape to the local
platoon commander who then ordered the attacker to be brought
in for questioning. The soldier resisted, opened fire on his
senior office, and was killed in the ensuing gunfight.

-- Case 55: A clandestine love affair that became very
public. The couple was caught "in the act" and publicly
embarrassed. According to the GOB investigation, the victim
said she had not been sexually molested against her will, the
soldier paid compensation to her, her parents, and some
neighbors. The soldier was also transferred out of the area.

-- Case 60: A disabled schoolgirl was raped twice in one
day, once by a Burmese soldier and once by a soldier of the
Shan State National Army (SSNA). The Burmese soldier was
tried and sentenced to 10 years hard labor. The SSNA soldier
was executed by the SSNA.

-- Case 69: The details of the dates of the incident were
different than the SHRF report. However, the crime did occur
and one of the attackers was sentenced to life imprisonment
and two other soldiers were each sentenced to three years at
hard labor. The senior officer in charge of the soldiers
forfeited a year of service.

4. (U) The GOB now claims to have investigated all 173 cases
of sexual violence against women recounted in the SHRF report
and states that these are the only cases that bore even any
"similarity" to the incidents in the SHRF report. The
DepFonMin also stated that the GOB has invited UN Special
Rapporteur Pinheiro to visit Shan State but declined to be
specific as to what investigative activities, if any, he will
engage in.

5. (U) The DepFonMin also stated that any future possibility
of an independent investigation by an international
organization would be "another matter". He stated
"categorically" that the GOB considers such an investigation
to be an infringement on its national sovereignty.

6. (U) Comment: Although the number of cases that the GOB
is even admitting had some foundation in fact is still
appallingly small, this latest approach to the whole question
of the SHRF report indicates they may perhaps be developing a
glimmer of understanding that they cannot just deny
allegations of human rights abuses and play the role of
conspiracy victim. Their handling of this latest briefing on
the SHRF report was much more professional, coherent, and
detailed than the previous one, which was a fiasco (see Ref
A). However, SR Pinheiro should take a very active role in
looking into the SHRF allegations when he visits Shan State.
Ideally, the UNHCR could send a team to delve into the
allegations. There must be a better accounting of what
actually happened - the GOB's numbers just do not add up and
claims of national sovereignty do not as wash as a basis to
refuse to allow independent investigation of the violence
depicted in the SHRF report.
Martinez

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