A women's group says that Myanmar's military is still using rape as a weapon of war, with more than 100 women and girls raped by the army since a 2010 election brought about a nominally civilian government that has pursued rapprochement with the West.
The Thailand-based Women's League of Burma said in a report made available to Reuters on Monday that 47 of the cases documented were gang rapes and 28 of the women were either killed or had died of their injuries. It said several victims were as young as eight. The report was dated January.
The group said the issue showed the need for legal reform in Myanmar, also known as Burma, and for changes to a 2008 constitution to ensure that the military is placed under civilian control.
Myanmar's government denied rape was used as a means of war.
"It's not the policy of our Tatmadaw (military) to use rapes as weapons," presidential spokesman Ye Htut told Reuters.
"If there are rape cases committed by individual members, we try to expose them and take effective action against the offenders. It would be very helpful in taking action against the offenders if those who prepared that report could send us the details of the cases," he said.
The report from the women's group comes less than a month after a bipartisan group of prominent U.S. senators, Bob Menendez, Marco Rubio, Ben Cardin and Bob Corker, introduced a bill that said the Myanmar government should not receive any funds made available to the Pentagon in 2014 until there is reform and rights abuses are addressed.
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