Mawlamyine Joins Nationwide Protests against Child Rape

The Mon State capital is the latest city to hold a major protest to demand justice for “Victoria,” the toddler at the center of a rape case that has shocked the country.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

More than a thousand people turned out on Saturday for a protest in the Mon State capital Mawlamyine to demand justice for “Victoria,” a three-year-old girl who was allegedly raped at her preschool in Naypyidaw in May.

The case, which has sparked similar protests around the country since the beginning of July, is seen by many as an example of the fundamental failure of Burma’s legal system to protect society’s most vulnerable citizens.

“This is not just about Victoria. There have been many other child-rape cases in our country that are unknown to the public. Our campaign is to eradicate child rape in our country,” said Nweni Soe, a protester who spoke to NMG.

“We want the relevant authorities to pay attention to this case and make sure that rule of law prevails in our country,” she added.

According to media reports, the three-year-old girl, who has been given the pseudonym “Victoria” to protect her identity, was raped at the Wisdom Hill private primary school in Naypyidaw on May 16.

A bus driver named Aung Gyi was taken into custody after the crime was reported by the girl’s parents the next day, but was subsequently released later that month. The suspect was arrested again on July 3, raising questions about police handling of the case.

The outcry has also attracted the attention of national leaders, with the government of Aung San Suu Kyi vowing to follow the case closely.

Many at the protest on Saturday demanded that the authorities practice full transparency in their efforts to bring the perpetrator of this crime to justice.

“We need rule of law and fairness in our country. We need to punish criminals in accordance with the law,” said protester Nyan Lin Htet.

Organizers said that more than 1,000 people took part in the Mawlamyine protest, which was attended by civil society organizations, human rights groups, and local citizens.