Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rights groups to regime: Stop atrocities

By Hseng Khio Fah

(Shanland) -Again, overseas Shan rights groups are on calling the Burmese military immediately stop its atrocities and also on the international and regional communities to end their silence and set up an investation team on the regime’s crimes against humanity.

Since 27 July, Burma Army units under the command of the Mongnawng based Military Operations Command (MOC) #2, Shan State South, have burned down over 500 houses, more than 200 granaries, and forcibly relocated an estimated 10,000 villagers from almost 40 villages in Mongkeung, Laikha and Kehsi townships, according to the rights groups.

“We are therefore demanding the regime immediately stop their atrocities against people the and allow all relocated villagers to return to their homes,” said Nang Charm Tong from Shan Women Action’s Network (SWAN) at a press conference held today on the Thai-Burma border.

“On the other hand, we would like to call on the international communities such as the United Nations Security Council, ASEAN and Burma’s neighbors to pressure Burma to stop its oppression on the people. They should not let Burma continue abusing the people,” she added.

According to her, the current forced relocation campaign is the largest forced relocation since 1996-1998, when over 300,000 villagers were uprooted in southern and central Shan State, most of whom have since fled to Thailand.

“This is another attempt to uproot the ethnic people,” she said.

During the 1996-98 campaign against the SSA, almost 1,500 villages were destroyed and more than 300,000 in southern and eastern Shan State were forcibly relocated, a third of which had escaped into Thailand.

“The troops were ordered by their headquarters to burn down the houses, as they repeatedly radioed to their headquarters as the buildings went up in flames,” said Shan Human Rights Foundation’s Director Kham Harn Fah.

"This campaign has been carried out cold-bloodedly and systematically,” he added.

The Burma Army earlier retaliated the Pa-O National Liberation Organization (PNLO) that had wiped out a 12-men patrol on 3 May by killing two village headmen, torturing more than 80 villagers and gangraped a 15-year old girl in Hsihseng, another southern Shan State township, according to several exile news groups.

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