Military regime escalates attacks against villagers in eastern Burma

The European Parliament issued three human rights resolutions today, one of which addresses the worsening human rights violations in Burma. The resolution “condemn(s) the ethnic cleansing campaign against minorities, in particular those seeking refuge in neighboring countries.” This denunciation of the contemptible actions of the military junta against its own ethnic civilians comes at a time of escalating human rights violations in eastern Burma.

On February 8, 2010, 200 soldiers from the Burmese Army attacked Tee Mu Ta village in Nyang Lay Bin District, destroying a mobile health clinic and 38 homes. In a matter of hours, the regime soldiers also destroyed K’Dee Mu Der village, by razing 15 homes, a middle school, and a nursery school. As a result of this military assault by the Burmese Army, 50 families from Tee Mu Ta village and 30 families from K’Dee Mu Der villages have been forced to flee and are now hiding in the jungle. They remain highly vulnerable to more attacks from the Burmese Army, while they travel for approximately 4-5 days to reach the Thai-Burma border and seek refuge there.

Image Source: Free Burma Rangers

That’s not all. Last month – in one month alone – the Burmese Army destroyed 10 villages in Nyang Lay Bin District. Four villagers were found dead; they were shot, burned, and decapitated. These military offenses has driven at least 2,000 villagers out of their homes and into hiding, adding to the mounting numbers of internally displaced people in Burma. (Click here to read the full report from Free Burma Rangers, documenting the atrocities and abuses.)

Aung Din, Executive Director of the U.S. Campaign for Burma said: “Mobile health clinics are always targeted by the regime’s troops because they provide life-saving services to Karen and other ethnic minority villagers, who are under continuous and inhumane attacks by the regime. This is a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions and the principal of medical neutrality, further evidence of the regime’s crimes against humanity and war crimes.”

These latest attacks on Burma’s ethnic population show the actual intentions and interests of the military junta:

1)      That they do not care about human rights or democracy, and will continue to breach the terms of international laws and fundamental rights of people

2)      That without the rule of law, the culture of impunity will continue to prevail at the expense of life, safety and dignity of the people of Burma

3)      That the military junta has no interest in moving toward conflict transformation, peace negotiations, and national reconciliations with Burma’s ethnic nationalities

International humanitarian laws are enacted to preserve humanity in all circumstances. They are reminders and protectors of the intrinsic value of a human life, regardless of his/her race, ethnicity, age, or gender. When breaches of such laws occur, they must be brought to the attention of the international community and perpetrators of such crimes must be held accountable.

Martin Luther King once said, “Justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere”. We call on the United Nations as well as all other democratic governments to take drastic and effective action to stop war crimes and crimes against humanity in Burma.

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