Women's groups call for immediate release of detained women, LGBTQ+ human rights defenders in Myanmar

Published May 26, 2021, 3:55 PM

by Gabriela Baron

At least 90 women’s groups across Southeast Asia called for the immediate release of women and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) human rights defenders in Myanmar.


In the months since the coup in early February, at least 800 women, including young LGBTQ+ activists have been arrested since the military junta took power.

The women-led human rights network of activists Just Associates (JASS) said those arrested were beaten, abused, sexually harassed, and denied healthcare.

As of April 30, 47 women have been killed by state forces in Myanmar.

In a joint statement, women’s groups expressed outrage at the “political killings and the impunity committed by the police and the military.”

“We condemn the neglect of ailing political prisoners being denied medical attention, and the unjust arbitrary arrest and detention of women and LGBTQ+ protesters in Myanmar,” they said.

“We denounce the continuous sexual, verbal harassments, physical, and mental tortures of women and LGTBQ+ political prisoners. Ethnic minorities and trans women, in particular, are experiencing humiliation and abuse inside jail,” the statement further read.

The groups also urged the international community “to stand with the women of Myanmar” and provide adequate support to address women’s situations and hold perpetrators accountable.

Among the signatories include AMIHAN Philippines, Bahaghari, Center for Women’s Resources, GABRIELA, Girls for Peace Philippines, and WomanHealth Philippines.

On February 1, Myanmar’s military detained state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior officials from the ruling National League for Democracy party.

Over three months since the military seized power, mass protests, military crackdowns, and diplomatic efforts to restore stability continue.

As of May 9, more than 700 people have been killed in clashes with security forces and another 3,800 arrested, charged, or sentences.