Save Burma

ျပည္သူေတြဆီမွာ လြတ္လပ္မႈနဲ႔ တန္းတူညီမွ်မႈ အရင္ဆံုး ရွိေနမွ ဒီမိုိကေရစီ စံႏႈန္းရွိတာ ျဖစ္ပါတယ္။

DEPRIVATION AND RAPE IS THE LOT OF KAREN REFUGEES

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Updated: [June 19, 2009 ] :: 00:52:26

DEPRIVATION AND RAPE IS THE LOT OF KAREN REFUGEES

Over 4,000 ethnic Karen villagers have been forced to seek refuge in Thailand since the Burmese military and Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) began their final attempt to defeat the Karen National Union (KNU) rebels, who are fighting to gain their independence.

And more refugees stream across the Thai-Burmese border every day. Meanwhile, disturbing accounts of rape and murder are adding to the reports of deprivation and terror.

Most of the refugees are from Ler Per Her IDP camp, but there are also villagers from over seven villages that have crossed the Moei River to Thailand in the face of fierce combat and mortar attacks; altogether there are over 40 villages in the conflict zone. “If the fighting continues, at least 8,000 more villagers will have to escape across the border or die at the hands of the soldiers,” KNU General Secretary, Zipporah Sein, is reported as saying.

According to a June 17 allegation from a spokesman from Karen relief organisation, the Free Burma Ranger (FBR), Burmese military assailants raped and murdered two teenage Karen women, while passing through Kwee Law Plo village, Lu Pleh Township, Pa-an district on June 12. The victims aged 18 and 17 respectively, the first eight-months pregnant, and the second, the mother of a six-month-old baby, were raped and murdered after their husbands had escaped into the jungle to avoid being press-ganged into working as porters for the Burmese Army. Previously, on 27 December, 2008, a seven-year-old Karen girl was reported to also have been raped and murdered by a Burmese soldier.

The Burmese military have long been accused by various Karen ethnic-rights groups of using systematic rape as a weapon to terrorize border-dwelling ethnic people. A report by the Karen Women Organization (KWO) entitled “Shattering Silences” cites 125 cases of sexual violence committed between 1988 and 2004. Officers were apparently the biggest offenders, being responsible for 50% of the rapes, 40% of which were gang-rapes, and in 28% of the instances the women were subsequently murdered. Similarly, in a 2002 report entitled “Licence to Rape” by the Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN), 173 ethnic Shan women gave evidence of having been raped or suffering sexual violence by the Burmese military.

The present mass exodus of Karen villagers began after the DKBA warned the local village headman that they were going to recruit more soldiers and porters.

“We knew what that meant, all the able-bodied men would be used by the army in one way or another, and on top of that we would have to give them money and food rations,” said villager Pa Naw Naw, 41, before he fled with his family, leaving his 11-year-old son behind to look after their house and animals. A common practice, apparently, as by far the majority of the refugees are women and children.

This is essentially a last ditch attempt to save their 6-year insurgency.”We will fight to the bitter end,” said David Thakerbaw, a 74-year-old KNU who has spent virtually his whole life fighting the Burmese military oppression. “We have no option but to fight on and hold on to every strip of land,” he said. “We know they will continue to commit human rights abuses, seize our land and control our natural resources.”

The latest military campaign is related to the Junta’s planned elections next year and the proposed creation of a national border police force, to be composed of the disarmed ethnic rebel armies who have ceasefire agreements with the government. “They want to eliminate (the) KNU now because we have called on all Karen to boycott the elections,” maintained Thackerbaw. “The last thing they want is for other ethnic groups to follow our lead.”

Thai wats (temples), especially those in the vicinity of the Thai border town of Mae Sot, are the mainstay for a considerable number of refugees. “They are in relatively good condition,” Kitty McKinsey, regional spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, reported “They are not emaciated, though many have walked for more than seven days to escape from the Myanmar army,” apparently with only the clothes they stood up in. Pa Kyaw, a 30-year-old refugee at Wat Noh Bo in Mae Sot, said, plaintively, “We want an end to all this fighting. All we want is to be left alone in peace, and to be able to return to our homes”

Link: http://www.pattayadailynews.com/shownews.php?IDNEWS=0000009508

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

June 18, 2009 at 4:29 am

One Response

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  1. I believe we should get nepomuk in the public more. ,

    Miss13

    October 11, 2009 at 1:13 am


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