Hundreds protest in Myanmar over two-year-old Victoria rape case

Demonstrators are demanding justice for the girl who was allegedly raped at her nursery.

Myanmar rape protest
Those taking part in the protest included parents and their children, as well as senior citizens [Sai Aung Main/AFP]

Hundreds of protesters have marched in Yangon amid outrage over the alleged rape of a two-year-old girl following a viral online campaign in a case that has left Myanmar society reeling.

The alleged incident took place in the country’s capital Naypyidaw in May but a public campaign escalated last week after the girl’s father spoke to local media, venting his anger over the lack of progress in the inquiry.

He gave details of how his daughter returned from nursery with injuries doctors told him were the result of rape. The girl was two years and 11 months old when she was allegedly raped at her school on May 16. Her mother filed a complaint at a police station the following day, according to local media reports.

A 29-year-old suspect, Aung Kyaw Myo, was rearrested on Wednesday and charged the next day, Myanmar’s deputy police chief Aung Naing Thu told reporters on Friday in Naypyidaw.

Aung Kyaw Myo was initially arrested in May but was released by a court due to a lack of evidence.

Many people in Myanmar took to Facebook to say he was wrongfully accused, and that the actual culprit was at large.

Human rights activist Nickey Diamond, who joined Saturday’s march in Yangon with his family, called on the government to form a special investigation committee.

“Myanmar has signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child and it has to protect children,” said Diamond. “From the government investigation activities and the statements that police put out, we have seen some dubious facts.”

Marchers on Saturday held banners and wore white shirts with “Justice for Victoria” emblazoned on them. Victoria is the nickname that people in Myanmar have given the young girl.

Myanmar protest
 Marchers held banners and wore white shirts with ‘Justice for Victoria’ emblazoned on them [Sai Aung Main/AFP]

Police Lieutenant Zar Mae Phone Ram said 1,200 people took part in the march, while Aung Htike Min, one of the organisers, said more than 6,000 participated.

“We also have a young daughter in our family. We don’t want this kind of thing to happen again in the country,” Hnin Yu Marn, 39-year-old business manager, who joined the march along with her family, said. “We want justice. We don’t want someone innocent to be accused.”

Aung Htike Min said the march was organised to “demand justice”, before adding: “We want transparency.”

Government spokesperson Zaw Htay said on his Facebook page on June 30 that the president’s office wants justice for the girl, but that an investigation would take some time.

A new child law is due to be signed soon that would allow police to open cases even if nobody presses charges.

Source: News Agencies