Kachin Women’s Group Documents Burma Army Continued Abuse of Civilians

The Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT) released a statement demanding the Burma Army stops it abuses of civilians.

The KWAT said it its statement that “on August 11, 2017, hundreds of Burma Army troops entered Kasung village, in Mogaung township of Kachin State, shooting indiscriminately at civilians. One villager was killed, at least two injured, and over 1,000 IDPs were forced to seek shelter in Namti and Lambraw Yang villages.”

The KWAT claim the “attack was part of a new Burma Army operation to drive out Kachin troops from the hills north of Namti. Over 600 troops from three battalions [Burma Army], IB 29, LIB 381 and 384, have been deployed into the area since early August.”

KWAT documented the experiences of civilians driven from their home by the Burma Army. KWAT said “villagers described scenes of terror as women, children and elderly fled into the jungle to escape gunfire of the advancing troops, either trekking for miles to reach Namti, or hiding nearby until members of the Kachin Baptist Convention and Peace Creation Group from Myitkyina were able to rescue them on August 13.”

The Kachin Women’s Association Thailand statement said that “eleven villagers, including two women and three children, were arrested on August 11 and forced by the Burma Army to be guides through the jungle for three days and carry injured soldiers. Two of the arrested villagers were badly tortured.”

KWAT claim that local government authorities denied humanitarian groups delivering aid to the displaced villagers, KWAT said that “on August 17, local Kamaing authorities blocked local aid groups from Hpakant from travelling to assist the IDPs in Namti. Two drivers were arrested, and a female aid volunteer was beaten by police and hospitalized.”

The Kachin Women’s Association Thailand claim that the blocking of humanitarian aid, and the Burma Army’s abuse of civilians, “meet the definition of war crimes.”

The KWAT urged in its statement that the international community has to “pressure the Burma Army to stop their ongoing offensives and human rights violations, and to withdraw troops from ethnic areas. Specifically, KWAT calls for an end to all military-to-military ties with Burma, and for a visa ban on the leaders of the Burma Army.”
The KWAT’s spokesperson, Shirley Seng said that the “…latest attacks against civilians are part of a systematic military operation, authorized at the highest level.”

Ms Seng quoted in KWAT’s statement said that the international community’s continued interaction with the Burma Army and its leaders has worsened the situation for ethnic people.

“Increasing military-to-military cooperation is emboldening the Burma Army to commit war crimes. Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing should be ostracized internationally as a war criminal, not treated like a VIP.”

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