“All My Clothes Were Wet with Blood…” – Burma Army Accused of “Torturing and Killing” Civilians in Shan State

A community-based human rights organisation alleges that Burma Army soldiers stationed in Shan State are committing grave human rights violations.

The Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF) said in a public statement that Burma Army forces in Shan State have used “torture, extrajudicial killings, and [the] use of civilians as human shields.”

SHRF said that Burma Army had launched a new offensive against Shan armed groups in the embattled region in recent weeks, leading to the displacement of more than 1,000 civilians in the area, and a series of war atrocities.

“Grave human rights violations by the Burma Army during this offensive include the use of 43 villagers, including women, as human shields; severe torture of 5 villagers; and extrajudicial killings of at least 3 civilians, with 5 other bodies yet to be identified,” SHRF said.

There are reports that the latest Burma Army offensive in Shan State has seen the use of helicopter gunships, heavy artillery, and at least 1,000 troops.

Villagers in the path of the offensive have described being tortured, beaten, being used as forced labour and human shields by the Burma Army. Farmer, Sai Nandia, from Aggee village, described how Burma Army soldiers tortured him and four other villagers.

“The Burmese troops used a knife to cut my neck many times. They used rifle butts to hit my face, nose, cheeks and mouth. And they used electric wires from a battery to give me a shock in my back, my right shoulder, and my chest. They hit my shins with a rifle butt and tied my feet and hands. They blindfolded my eyes. At that time, my mouth was bleeding. All my clothes were wet with blood. My eyes were hurt. We were not allowed to sleep for two nights.”

In another incident, the burned remains of three villagers were found south of Parng Law village on 19 May 2016, SHRF said that locals had last seen them when Burma Army soldiers had arrested them on the 14 May 2016.

Human remains have also been found in Wo Long Village, where the burned bodies of five villagers were found in their homes a week after the other villagers had fled a Burma Army attack.

“SHRF strongly condemns these violations, which meet the definition of war crimes, and calls for an end to impunity for the perpetrators.”

SHRF said in its statement that it is, “urgently needed for the international community to publicly denounce the ongoing offensives and war crimes by the Burma Army, which make a mockery of the peace process.”

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