Government reforms fail to stop Burma’s military attacking civilians

A report from the Karen Human Rights Group accuses the Burma Army of attacks and threats of violence against civilians in eastern Burma.

The KHRG report indicates that Burma’s civilian administration has done nothing to protect innocent people in Eastern Burma. The report also says that conflict has intensified in Karen State as the Tatmadaw [Burma Army] comes into conflict with rebel groups it once counted as allies. Until quite recently the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army and the Burma Army cooperated in military operations — but when, in November 2010, factions of the DKBA refused to relinquish autonomy and become the Border Guard Force under the direct control of the Burma Army, fighting broke out between the two and, according to the KHRG report, the conflict has since led to at least 25,000 displaced civilians.

In the midst of this violence, the KHRG report records a wide range of humanitarian abuses by the Burma Army. These include, “targeted remote shelling” and “direct ground attacks” on civilians. In one incident on the 19th of February the Burma Army shelled a village in Karen State. A mortar landed near the local school, killing one student and injuring two others. KHRG alleges that the attack was a planned assault or indiscriminate killing, as the village was not involved in the ongoing conflict between ethnic armed groups and the Burma Army.

The ongoing conflict has serious consequences for civilians. Many children are among the 83,700 civilians displaced by Burma Army attacks and civil war. Despite Burma’s national elections last year, continued state-sponsored violence has greatly contributed to a chronic lack of education and health facilities in Burma. After the election generalized threats to the security of children led to at least 27 schools being closed in southern Karen State.

To see the full report go to: www.khrg.org

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