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Crimes in Northern Burma: Results from a Fact-Finding Mission to Kachin State

By Partners Relief & Development  •  November 28, 2011

On 9 June 2011, civil war broke out in northern Burma between the Burma Army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), ending a 17-year long ceasefire agreement. This report presents data collected from a Partners investigation in southern Kachin State, Burma in October 2011. The testimony of witnesses and on-site photographs reveal multiple acts perpetrated by Burma Army battalions 74 and 276 against ethnic Kachin civilians that potentially amount to war crimes and other extreme crimes. These acts include torture, extrajudicial killing, the specific targeting of civilians, human shielding, unlawful arrest, unlawful detention, forced labor, forced relocation, displacement, property theft and property destruction.

Witnesses reported that Burma Army soldiers entered Nam Lim Pa village on 8 October 2011. Men were arrested and detained for forced labor. Women and children were detained in the Roman Catholic church compound against their will and without provocation or expressed reason.

Violent injuries demonstrate signs of extreme physical abuse and strongly suggest the intentional infliction of severe pain or suffering while in custody. Civilian casualties included torture and execution. Eyewitness reports indicate no Kachin Independence Army presence during the time of the attacks.

Villagers were forcibly relocated and displaced by armed soldiers. Houses, offices and churches were robbed and vandalized, all without justification. At least one home was robbed and burned to the ground while its owner was arrested and detained.

The results from this fact-finding mission to Kachin State reveal evidence of crimes that potentially amount to war crimes, perpetrated by the Burma Army against ethnic Kachin civilians and their properties in October 2011. Based on the incidents documented in this report, the Burma Army is in contravention of its legal obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law. Considering the nature and scale of these acts in combination with documented abuses in the broader civil war in Kachin State, the actions of the Burma government and the Burma Army may also amount to other serious violations, including crimes against humanity. Those responsible must be brought to justice and held accountable for their actions.

Download the report here.

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This post is in: Crimes Against Humanity, Ethnic Nationalities, Human Rights, Spotlight

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