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Two articles from Burma Issues, Jan
- Subject: Two articles from Burma Issues, Jan
- From: brelief@xxxxxxx
- Date: Sun, 18 Feb 1996 21:04:00
Subject: Two articles from Burma Issues, January 1996
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Selected Articles from: BURMA ISSUES January 1996
(P.O. Box 1076
Silom Post Office
Bangkok, 10504, Thailand
HUMAN RIGHTS STILL LIVING IN FEAR
This month, several articles in this publication discuss issues
refuted to tourism in Burma. Visitors to Burma are on the
increase, and some people feel that the presence of visitors will
improve the human rights situation. While any easing of abuses
against the long - suffering people of Burma would indeed be
welcomed, there is yet little evidence that tourism is having
such an effect. Reports, especially in the border areas of the
country, continue to provide evidence that suffering continues
as usual, and in some areas is even increasing. Human rights
abuses in Burma are structural in nature, and it is a change in
these dehumanizing political, economic, and social structures,
not an increase in foreign visitors, which will finally bring an
end to rape, pillage, forced relocation, and forced labor
throughout Burma. The following stories summarize a few of
the reports received over the past month, and provides further
evidence that peace is yet a long ways off.
Ganantaung Village, inhabited by Rakhine nationals of
Ponnagyun Township in Rakhine State, has become another
focal point of the human rights violations by Slorc troops In the
name of counter-insurgency operations, this small and peaceful
village was virtually turned into a concentration camp by
Company 3, of Battalion 376. For nine harrowing days starting
on November 3, Ganantaung and five other neighbouring vil-
lages were held under threats and violence.
The apparent reason for this violence was an encounter between
the Slorc troops and the Arakan Liberation Army (ALA), which
is the guerrilla wing of the Arakan Liberation Party (ALP), at a
spot two miles away from Ganataung. In the ambush, two Slorc
soldiers were killed and a few others injured. In a frenzy of
retaliation, the Slorc troops adopted means of violence
including physical torture, threats and rape against innocent vil-
lagers. Two villagers were killed and at least fifty were injured.
Among the injured, ten suffered from fractured ribs, sixteen
from broken arms, and others received head injuries, cuts and
According to a visitor to the area, all the villagers, including
women and children were restricted within the confines of the
villages for many days. Their appeal to go search for food was
refused by the soldiers. Many became sick.
Five women were reported to have been raped, and many young
girls molested. A 29 - year - old nurse was severely beaten up
when she resisted being raped. Another woman received a
serious head injury when she tried to save her sister from an at-
(Source: THE ARAKAN FORUM, December 1995)
On the 4th of October, 1995, Captain Than Taih, Commander
of the Slorc post in Lailenpi of Matupi Township, Chin State
marched with twenty soldiers and 20 porters into Sabawngpi
Village. The villagers, all of whom are poor farmers, were
forced to purchase the food rations the soldiers were carrying.
Being very poor, the villagers tried to collect all of the money
available in the village to buy these rations because they were
afraid of being beaten and abused if they did not.
Once they had gathered enough money to buy the soldiers'
rations, the soldiers then demanded that the villagers provide,
without pay, rice, pigs and chickens for their meal. There was
no way the villagers could refuse to give up their precious
livestock and food supplies.
On October 6, the soldiers took eight villagers as porters and
marched to another village nine miles away. Most of the
villagers were not at home as they must stay in their fields
during the months of October and November to harvest their
crops. Captain Than Taih had his troops spread out and move
into homes in the village.
When one sergeant and his group tried to occupy an empty
house, a villager by the name of Mr. Va U asked them to stay in
a different house since this one was locked up. He urged them
to stay in a house where villagers were at home. The sergeant
immediately hit him hard in the face and knocked him down.
Other soldiers hit him soundly in the back with their rifle butts.
The sergeant then told him that villagers have no right to make
suggestions and rather must do only what they are told to do by
the soldiers. He threatened even more violent treatment if the
villagers said anything more Mr. Va U was unable to eat for
three days due to the internal damage done by the beating.
The soldiers remained in this village for about one week during
which time the villagers had to provide them with rice, pigs,
chickens and money. When they finally left, they forced eight
villagers to serve them as porters for the continuation of their
CAROLING FOR PEACE
Synapses, a Chicago USA based organization of people
committed to helping build societies of peace and justice
throughout the world, have a tradition of Christmas caroling
which takes well - known Christmas songs and adapts them to
reflect urgent concerns of the day. The following is their
rendition of Winter Wonderland created for the justice and
peace struggle in Burma
Bullets ring, are you listening?
In the streets, sorrow's glistening?
Though Burma's a fright
CEOs on this night
from Unocal and Pepsi
count their dough.
Slorc says, "Come, see our country."
Tourists pay lots of money.
But tourists won't see
the real tragedy:
peasants forced to work under the gun
In the highlands
Muslim women cry out,
witnesses to murder
rape and theft.
Soldiers come to
steal their food
and beat them.
and Pepsi people deaf?
Burma cries out for freedom
Aung San Suu Kyi wants to lead 'em.
But corporate pork
just props up the Slorc,
Unocal and Pepsi pay the bill.
If you wish to join in the many creative activities of Synapses,
contact them at: Synapses, 1821 W. Cullerton, Chicago, Il