By Hyo-Jin Paik
Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia
KACHIN, Burma – Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) found new evidence of human rights violations in Burma. CSW said they heard horrifying, first-hand testimonies of rape, religious discrimination, land confiscation, and human trafficking of ethnic minorities in Kachin State of northern Burma.
Benedict Rogers, CSW’s East Asia Team Leader, said ethnic Kachin people, especially women, live in constant fear of the Burmese soldiers, yet no one dares to intervene. Rogers also said that despite the ceasefire between the ruling junta and the Kachin Independent Organization, people of Kachin continue to suffer severe restriction, discrimination, and military impunity.
Villagers fleeing Burma Army troops (Source: AP)
CSW report included an account of a local pastor who was forced by the Burmese military to make a speech at a public rally denouncing human rights campaigners and claiming complete religious freedom. Furthermore, CSW spoke with a 21-year old student who was raped and strangled by Burma Army soldiers. The rape victim did file a complaint and requested investigation, but no action was ever taken. She merely received 100,000 Kyats for medical care, a rice bag, and cooking oil.
“Many rape cases in Kachin State go unreported because victims are afraid and [too] ashamed to report it. There are many more cases we don’t know about,” said Rogers. He added, “No women are safe in Kachin State.”
Kachin Development Networking Group’s Chairman Awng Wa, who works inside Burma, described the current situation by stating that, “You can hear of rape cases everywhere, if there is a military camp set up. But no one dares to complain because they are afraid that it could create… more repression.” The Chairman further added, “Land confiscation and forced labor are common too.”
According to Rogers, the Kachin people feel forgotten by the international community. He said, “It is time that their voices are heard, and that the international community responded to the political, social, humanitarian and environmental disaster in northern…Burma.”
For more information, please see:
Chinland Guardian – CSW: Chin and Kachin Face Brutalities in Burma – 25 May 2009
The Christian Post – CSW Uncovers More Evidence of Human Rights Abuses in Burma – 25 May 2009
Christian Today – SCW uncovers more evidence of human rights abuses in Burma – 25 May 2009
Mizzima News – Junta violations severe in Northern Burma: CSW – 25 May 2009