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Thein Sein Government Must be Held Accountable for Fresh Burma Army Atrocities in Shan State

By Shan Human Rights Foundation  •  April 22, 2013

The Shan Human Rights Foundation is gravely concerned at fresh widespread atrocities by the Burma Army against civilians in Tangyan, northern Shan State, and is calling on the international community to hold the Burmese government accountable for these abuses.

Despite ongoing peace talks with the Shan State Army-North (SSA-N), troops from nine Burmese battalions have since last month been conducting a fierce offensive to drive the SSA-N from their bases south of Tangyan. On April 15, during the annual Water Festival, Burmese troops launched new attacks, deliberately targeting civilians in several village tracts.

Mortar shells were rained on two villages, injuring two children, and damaging a school and several houses. Burmese troop patrols detained and beat civilians in at least nine villages, causing serious injury. This included children, who were kicked and beaten with rifle butt.

A group of about fifty young men and women travelling to celebrate the Water Festival were apprehended by Burmese troops, and forced to walk in front and behind them as human shields, to ward off attacks by Shan troops.

Burmese troops have burned vehicles of villagers attempting to flee, and have also threatened to burn down entire villages where fighting takes place with Shan troops.

As a result of these abuses, it is estimated that nearly 2,000 villagers have now fled to Tangyan, where they are taking refuge in temples and in relatives’ houses. Some have also fled east across the Salween River to Wa-controlled areas.

The Burma Army attacks are in direct contravention of their ceasefire with the SSA-N, and call into question the viability of the ongoing peace process between the Burmese government and the ethnic armed groups.

In the interests of promoting sustainable peace in Shan State, the Shan Human Rights Foundation urgently calls on foreign governments to publicly condemn these attacks and atrocities by the Burma Army, and to make further engagement with the Thein Sein government conditional upon genuine efforts to find a political solution to the conflict in Burma.

Details of abuses can be seen in the attached “Summary of human rights violations committed by Burma Army during military offensive in Tangyan, Shan State, April 14-15, 2013,” and on www.shanhumanrights.org

Contact persons:

Kham Harn Fah:          +66 86 184 2430
Ying Harn Fah:            +66 89 262 7848
Sai Khur Hseng :         +66 80 847 6538

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This post is in: Crimes Against Humanity, Press Release

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