Wit­ness re­ports child rapes amid cam­paign against sex­ual abuse

The Myanmar Times - - News - THAN NAING SOE SI THU LWIN

TWO chil­dren were re­port­edly raped in Man­dalay on the same day the city ral­lied for stricter penal­ties for peo­ple guilty of sex­u­ally abus­ing mi­nors.

A wit­ness re­ported to rail­way au­thor­i­ties that he had seen a man abus­ing a young girl and a young boy near the back of the Man­dalay Rail­way Sta­tion on Novem­ber 27.

“I saw a sus­pi­cious scene in­volv­ing two chil­dren from the place where I was uri­nat­ing. I looked up to be sure what was hap­pen­ing was what I thought it was,” said the wit­ness. “I called for passerby to come and help. They also saw the scene. I took pic­tures on my phone to use as ev­i­dence, and peo­ple caught and de­tained the man.”

Ac­cord­ing to Po­lice Lieu­tenant Soe Oo, the sus­pect is a 40-year-old home­less man from My­itky­ina who sleeps near the train sta­tion where the train car­riages are changed. He is ac­cused of rap­ing a seven-year-old boy and a four-year-old girl.

“It seems he per­suaded the chil­dren with snacks,” said the wit­ness.

The po­lice and rail­way se­cu­rity ar­rested the sus­pect. The man has been charged un­der sec­tions 376 and 377 of the pe­nal code.

The chil­dren’s step­fa­ther said that the man would of­ten play with the chil­dren.

“I don’t know about the law or about how to take against him but our chil­dren are afraid and won’t say any­thing to us,” he said.

Man­dalay so­cial wel­fare or­gan­i­sa­tions have been cam­paign­ing to re­vise the crim­i­nal code to in­clude in­creased penal­ties for per­pe­tra­tors of sex­ual as­sault against chil­dren. Two art in­stal­la­tions, in­clud­ing a photo ex­hi­bi­tion and a mu­ral paint­ing, were staged on Novem­ber 26 and 27 to help raise pub­lic aware­ness.

“I drew this mu­ral to draw the pub­lic’s at­ten­tion to the is­sue, in the hope that it will be erad­i­cated in the fu­ture,” said MC Print, a lo­cal youth graf­fiti artist. “This is my con­tri­bu­tion to the fight against rape and sex­ual abuse in Myan­mar.”

The Min­istry of So­cial Wel­fare, Re­lief and Re­set­tle­ment has asked the Union At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Of­fice to in­crease the max­i­mum penalty for child rapists, Min­is­ter U Win Myat Aye told re­porters out­side par­lia­ment on Novem­ber 28. He added that if the pro­posal is ac­cepted, the mod­i­fied sen­tences would range from a 10-year min­i­mum to a life sen­tence. – Trans­la­tion by Win Thaw Tar

and Khine Thazin Han

Photo: Si Thu Lwin

Artist MC Print paints a mu­ral in Chan Aye Tharzan town­ship to raise aware­ness about sex­ual vi­o­lence.

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