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PSLF Letter to International Community

By Palaung State Liberation Front  •  March 31, 2016

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN,

The Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF) urgently requests the international community to assist with the protection of civilians in Northern Shan State.

Since February 24, the Myanmar Tatmadaw has been conducting a large-scale offensive against the civilian population of the Ta’ang Region. The Tatmadaw has saturated Northern Shan State with forces and has been reinforcing its troops. The Tatmadaw has targeted civilians, civilian areas, and civilian property where no combatants have been present. CBOs have documented human rights violations, and images and videos of these violations have spread on social media.

So far, the Tatmadaw is known to have burned down 4 villages and shot heavy weapons into homes in a dozen more villages, forced civilians to porter supplies (forced labor), threatened women with rape if they return to their villages, committed rape, arbitrarily arrested around 100 civilians, tortured civilians, injured children and other civilians, and destroyed and stolen food and other property. Many of the arbitrarily arrested persons have still not returned home. More than 1,000 newly displaced persons have fled to IDP camps, the jungle, and relatives’ homes.

During this delicate time of transition to the new democratically elected government, civil war is destabilizing and harmful to the peace and democratizing processes. War against the people directly undermines the stability of the state and society.

The PSLF seeks peace and safety for the people and a smooth transition period. It has instructed its units to avoid all fighting, unless necessary for self-defense.

Members of the international community who are concerned about Burma’s democratic transition and peace process can play a meaningful role in protecting the lives and security of civilians. The international community should make it clear that the Tatmadaw will be held responsible for the humanitarian situation in all parts of the country and that longstanding military practices that violate human rights, international humanitarian law, and the nationwide ceasefire agreement are unacceptable.

The international community should insist on free access to all areas of the country in order to provide assistance to IDPs and other persons in need. We encourage any public and private political pressure that might lessen the fighting and harms to civilians. The PSLF welcomes humanitarian support and human rights fact-finding that will provide for the needs of the civilians and deter future violations of their rights.

The PSLF will gladly give assistance to any groups providing humanitarian support, conducting human rights investigations, or otherwise helping the needs of the people. The government transition and peace process will be more successful if wars against the people of Burma do not continue simultaneously.

Sincerely,

Tar Parn La

Head of Foreign Department

Palaung State Liberation Front – PSLF

Download the Statement here.

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This post is in: Press Release

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