“I asked my mum to run, because the Burmese soldiers were coming, but she wouldn’t come with me,” he says. “I heard three loud gunshots but kept running. When I came back to find her she had a big hole in her chest and her legs were broken.” Brang Shawng, a 12 year old Kachin boy is now an orphan after his mother was brutally murdered by Burmese soldiers in Bhamo, Kachin State.
Sadly, stories similar to Brang Shawng’s continue to emerge everyday, highlighting the atrocities currently faced by the Kachin people in Northern Burma. It was one year ago today that the Burmese Army broke a 17-year ceasefire with the Kachin Independence Organization, leading to the death of countless innocent civilians and the displacement of over 75,000 people in Kachin State.
As the world looks upon the reforms in Burma as a catalyst for democracy and rewards the Burmese regime by lifting sanctions, the Burmese Army continues to commit egregious human rights abuses against the Kachin people. Living in constant fear of assault by Burmese soldiers, the Kachin people have been subjected to forced portering, use as human landmine shields and landmine sweepers, rape, torture, extrajudicial killings, disappearance, forced relocation, and the destruction and confiscation of food and property.
The situation in Kachin state is rapidly deteriorating and the Kachin people desperately need our help. Join the USCB and many Burmese advocacy organizations to call attention to the human rights abuses being faced by the Kachin people at the hands of the Burmese army. There are many ways you can make a difference:
1) Sign the change.org petition calling on U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton not to suspend American sanctions on Burma without putting legally binding safeguards in place to prevent American business from fueling atrocities and abuses in Burma.
2) Please tell USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah to urgently provide humanitarian assistance to the Kachin community-based relief committees so that they can carry on their work and save the lives of Kachins who have already had to endure so much.
3) Email your Congression(wo)man now and urge them to cosponsor the renewal of the Freedom and Democracy Act, which denies hundreds of millions of dollars from getting into the hands of Burma’s military and its crony companies. Click here to get instructions on who and how to call.
4) Donate to the USCB and help us take our work to the next level! A generous donor has offered to match our supporters’ donations – so every donation you give will have double the impact. We need your help to continue to push for human rights and a political system that is sustainable, equitable, and truly democratic in Burma.