A bipartisan group of women senators is urging Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to up the pressure on the military-backed government of Myanmar to stop using rape as a weapon of war.
The senators who form the Women’s Caucus on Burma, now known as Myanmar, also called on Clinton to help establish an international war crimes commission to formally investigate human rights violations in the country.
In a letter to Clinton from caucus co-chairs Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, the group cited recent reports that the army has been using gang rape in various parts of the country to put down protests and uprisings by pro-democracy groups.
“Given the Burmese regime’s unabated use of rape as a weapon of war, we urge you to call on the regime to end this practice and pursue our shared goal of establishing an international Commission of Inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity,” Feinstein and Hutchison wrote to Clinton.
“We must not allow this regime to continue to commit such dire crimes while the people of Burma continue to suffer,” the letter said.
Twelve other caucus members joined Feinstein and Hutchison in signing the letter.
The Republicans were Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine.
The Democrats included Sens. Patty Murray of Washington, Barbara Boxer of California, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Barbara Mikulski of Maryland.
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