Shan Community Calls on US President Obama to Condemn Government Attacks in Ethnic Areas During His Burma Visit

A coalition of Shan community-based-organisations released a statement calling on the President of the United States, Barack Obama, to raise the issue of ongoing military offensives by the Burmese government in ethnic areas during his visit to the country.

The statement, issued on behalf of 12 community-based-organisations, including the Shan Human Rights Foundation and the Shan Women’s Action Network, said that ongoing attacks by government forces in central Shan State since June 2012 were in direct violation of existing ceasefire agreements and undermine the Burmese Government’s narrative of democratic reform.

“Backed up by jets and helicopters, the Burmese troops have been raining shells on civilian areas, torturing and killing villagers, and looting property, causing the displacement of hundreds of villagers,” the CBO statement said.

Attacks have centered on areas surrounding Ke See and Murng Hsu Townships, currently held by the Shan State Army-North.

Fighting has also been reported in Kachin State between government forces and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) throughout last month.

The statement urged President Obama to put pressure on Burma’s President, U Thein Sein, to halt military operations and withdraw its soldiers from the areas of current conflict and to support the attainment of a Federal Union of Burma.

The statement by Shan CBO’s came as the frontline humanitarian aid agency, Free Burma Rangers, published a report documenting systematic human rights abuses continuing to occur in conflict zones inside Burma.

The report by FBR documented at least 27 cases of rape, torture or kidnapping of civilians by government forces this year. FBR also said it had documented at least 168 armed clashes and 265 deaths – including 20 civilians.

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