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Launch of Burma Human Rights Report and Video

BANGKOK, THAILAND - On the eve of the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the Human Rights Documentation Unit (HRDU) of the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB) today released the 2006 Burma Human Rights Yearbook, which comprehensively documents the continuing and systematic perpetration of human rights violations in Burma as they occurred throughout 2006.  

 

Dr Sann Aung of the NCGUB drew on two examples that highlighted the systematic nature of abuses within the country. He stated that the "Persecution of HIV/AIDS activists in Rangoon and the shoot on sight policies directed at IDPs in northern Karen State are two sides of the same coin, both designed to suppress independent action which could potentially threaten the perpetuation of military rule."

 

He added that "The National Convention must be viewed within this framework, of a regime which is fully prepared to commit untold and egregious abuses against the people of Burma for the very purpose of maintaining its grip on power. To offer support to the National Convention process in its present form is to support the entrenchment of military rule and abuse within Burma."

 

In conjunction with the release of HRDU's report, Burma Issues screened its production "Shoot on Sight", a riveting video putting a human face on the ethnic minorities forced to flee ongoing military incursions into their areas, resulting in swelling numbers of internally displaced persons, a new exodus of refugees to Thailand, and further potential impacts to regional stability.  

 

"This situation is not confined to Burma, it threatens the peace and security of all of us in the region," explained Khun Somsri Hananuntasuk, of Thai Action Committee for Democracy in Burma, stating "The destruction and relocation of villages, forced labour, systematic rape, child soldiers, and other such grave human rights abuses have created one of the world's worst situations of internally displaced persons and flow of refugees to neighbouring countries." She added "Thai's are a compassionate people.   We cannot turn a blind eye to the plight of our suffering neighbours and those who seek as a last resort of survival, asylum in Thailand."

 

Saw Taw Nay Htoo, Video Project Coordinator with Burma Issues noted that "25,000 people face starvation, and this figure could increase dramatically if the Burmese army's offensive carries on for another year.   The army is under orders to shoot on sight anyone in the offensive area, including unarmed civilians."

 

This offensive is unprecedented in its gravity and severity for the villagers living within the offensive area.   What makes this so different from previous incursions are the:  

  • continuous and deliberate attacks against civilians over the past 18  months through both the dry and rainy seasons;
  • systematic hunting down of fleeing civilians;
  • searching for and destroying of hidden food stores;
  • increased militarization and establishment of at least 33 new military bases in the  area; and 
  • increased roads, built through forced labour, in the offensive area, thereby  consolidating the army's presence and power in the area.

Saw Taw Nay Htoo noted that " The world, Burma, and the ethnic people cannot afford for this situation to continue or get worse.   We know that if the international community is united the State Peace and Development Council of Burma will listen."    He appealed today for support for the following call for immediate action. 

 

  1. ASEAN, China and India to pressure the State Peace and Development Council to immediately stop the offensive in Eastern Burma;
  2. Thailand to enable and support potential donor countries in providing cross-border aid to communities inside Burma, especially for women and children; and
  3. Governments of Asia and ASEAN to support a UN Security Council resolution on Burma.

 

Refugees from Burma

 

Thailand  (in camps)                                                150,000

Total in SE Asia as of December 2006                      725,500

 

Source:   World Refugee Survey 2006

 

Internally Displaced Persons as of December 2006

 

Burma                                                     at least 1,000,000

Eastern Burma (Thai/Burma border)                          500,000

-          287,000 living in ceasefire areas; 118,000 in SPDC-controlled relocation sites and 95,000 in hiding in forests

-          Approximately 27,000 newly displaced IDPs during 2006

 

Source: Thailand Burma Border Consortium November 2006 Survey

 

Destroyed / relocated / abandoned villages

 

No comprehensive data exists for the number of destroyed villages or new army camps constructed countrywide. 

 

2005-2006                                                                                                                          232

 

Source: Thailand Burma Border Consortium November 2006 Survey

 

For more information on HRDU visit our Web site at http://www.ncgub.net/

 

For more information on Burma Issues visit out Web site at http://www.burmaissues.org/En/Index.htm

Backgrounder

Burma Issues is unique in that we focus on marginalized communities as the target group to build up peace based on justice for everyone.   Our approach is based on community organization and empowerment concepts.  It takes four forms: grassroots organizing, activist development, information for action, and international peace campaigns.  

HRDU is the research department of the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma. HRDU was formed to comprehensively document the human rights situations in Burma, in order to protect and promote the internationally recognised human rights of those persons in the country.

 

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