In any conflict, whether it’s a war between states or a civil war of state’s repression against one ethnic or religious group, women along with children are the most vulnerable groups that suffer violence. According to UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict, the vast majority of casualties in today’s wars are among civilians, mostly women and children. Women in particular face devastating forms of sexual violence, which is sometimes deployed systematically to achieve a military or political objective.

After a visit to Cox Bazar, Pramila Patten, a special representative of the UN Secretary-General on sexual violence in conflict held Myanmar’s soldiers responsible for the systematic targeting of Rohingya women for gang-rape during violence against the minority Muslim community which triggered an exodus to Bangladesh. While talking to the reporters, she said that many women and girls had died because of the rapes. For the sexual violence that was commanded and orchestrated in Rakhine, she accused the armed forces of Myanmar.

The civilian government’s silence on military’s involvement in sexual crimes is nothing but a tool to accelerate the evacuation process in the Rakhine region. Myanmar’s silence on sexual aggressions of its soldiers is a disregard for international rules and treaties that aim to protect women from acts of sexual violence.

Even if the conflict ends in the near future, the acts of sexual violence will haunt these victims. The impacts of sexual violence persist in many forms including unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections and stigmatization. Fears are that widespread sexual violence may continue or even increase in the aftermath of conflict, as a consequence of insecurity and impunity.

In the light of the findings that have surfaced this Sunday, it is international community’s responsibility of utmost importance to constitute a tribunal to punish those involved in acts of sexual violence against Rohingya women. Letting these people go free will encourage other to unleash their bestiality against women in other conflict-hit areas.