Burma’s community-based organizations, human rights groups and the United Nations have documented a clear pattern of widespread and systematic human rights violations that may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by Burma Army against civilians throughout Burma.
Forced displacement of civilians from ethnic areas is widespread. Rape and sexual assault are rampant. Extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and imprisonment are all commonplace. Armed conflict between the Burma Army and ethnic armed groups has been ongoing in Eastern Burma for several decades and continues in Kachin and Shan States. As part of this conflict, extensive violations of the laws of war have been committed with the Burma Army directing attacks against civilians. Particularly worrisome is the Burma Army’s practice of using civilians as human minesweepers. Other war crimes include the conscription of child soldiers, forced labor and the laying of landmines in residential areas and cultivated fields.
Despite the current reform process, Burma’s government lacks the willingness and ability to investigate these crimes. The government has repeatedly denied the possibility that such crimes have been taking place, and specifically, Article 445 of the 2008 Constitution grants immunity from prosecution for state and military personnel. There is a complete lack of rule of law in Burma and the new Myanmar National Human Rights Commission is not equipped to independently investigate these crimes and already ruled out considering crimes committed in ethnic armed conflict areas where most severe human rights violations take place. Read more about the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission here.
The government has also been ignoring the numerous and repeated calls of the United Nations General Assembly, United Nations Human Rights Council and UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar to investigate the serious human rights violations taking place in Burma.
The government of Burma and the Burma Army must address these human rights violations by: