The Burma government has worked hard in recent months to present a good image to the international community. They are seen engaging with opposition groups, offering peace talks to ethnic armed organisations and releasing a few political prisoners in an effort to convince the international community that they are prepared to embrace democratic change.
The only blemish on the government’s charm offensive are the armed struggles and ongoing human rights abuses in Karen, Shan and Kachin states – women groups have accused the Burma Army of raping, attacks on villagers by the Burma Army and its militia allies, forced labor and land confiscation.
Early this month, a thirteen-years-old boy was tortured by a group of Burma Army soldiers and police in Monghsu area of Muse Township, Northern Shan State. A local resident told Karen News that the boy was accused of being a spy for the Kachin Independent Army.
“He is just a young cow boy. While coming back from taking care of the cows, several army trucks passed by him. Then a group of 10 soldiers and police got down from the trucks and beat him and accused him of giving information to KIA. It happened on the road to Panghsang.”
A villager said the beating of the boy took place on October 2 at about noon and although village leaders and the boy’s parents tried to stop it, the soldiers and police continued beating the boy until he was seriously injured. The boy was taken back to his home without any medical treatment, as his parents could not afford the cost.
The soldiers were identified as being from Infantry Battalion 290 which is deployed to carry out military operation in the Mongkoe area – the police are local and were with the troops for added security.
U Aung Myo Min, director of the Thailand based Human Right Education Institute of Burma explained that the beating of the boy is a violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and a violation of the United Nation Security Council’s resolution 16/12.
Speaking to Karen News U Aung Myo Min said.
“This case is worse as it happened in the armed conflict area. The most vulnerable groups in armed conflict affected areas are women and children. The party most responsible for protection of these vulnerable groups is the government.”
Since July 2011, there has been fighting between the government troops and the KIA in the Monghsu area of Northern Shan State.