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EXCERPTS FROM THE HRW/ASIA REPORT,
Subject: EXCERPTS FROM THE HRW/ASIA REPORT, MARCH 1995.
/* Written Fri 23 Feb 6:00am 1996 by DRUNOO@xxxxxxxxxxxx in igc:reg.burma */
/* --------------" Excerpts from HRW/Asia report "----------------- */
In relation to the repeated attack on refugees at the Thai border, the
SLORC's reply is:(from Special Rapporteur's interim report)
"37. The government has not yet held any official peace talks with
DKBO, and as DKBO has yet to return to the legal fold, the Myanmar
authorities have no control over DKBO and are not responsible for
its activities. The presence of government security forces along
some sections of the eastern border are for the prevention of
spill-over effects, and to provide security for local inhabitant
who have requested such security assurances, as various factions of
the Kayin armed groups continue to be in conflict with each other.
The SLORC are obviously trying to distance themselves from these attacks.
As following report indicate, those incidents will not escape from the
international scrutiny even if SLORC were successful (quite unlikely) in
putting all the blame on DKBO. -- U Ne Oo.
HRW/ASIA March 1995 Vol.7. No. 5
BURMA: ABUSES LINKED TO THE FALL OF MANERPLAW pp-4
III. INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW AND THE CONFLICT IN BURMA
The conduct of combatants in war is expressly regulated by international
humanitarian law, also known as the "laws of war." This comprises the four
Geneva Conventions of 1949, the two 1977 Protocols to those conventions,
and customary law. Unlike human rights law, which specifically applies to
governments, humanitarian law applies to all parties to armed conflict and
was intended to protect non-combatants and the victims of such conflict.
Conflictsof an internal character are more specifically regulated by
Article 3 common to all four Geneva Conventions and by Protocol II of 1977.
These provisions create obligations both for government forces and for
insurgents, and those obligations are not reciprocal, i.e. violations by
one side do not excuse those committed by the other.
Many of the violations described in this report are violations of the
Geneva Conventions that Burma signed amid much publicity, in 1992. By doing
so it undertook to abide by the provisions of those conventions, including
Common Article 3, which states, in part:
In the case of armed conflict not of an international character
occrring in the territory of one the High Contracting parties, each
Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the
1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including
members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those
placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other
causes, shall be in all circumstances be treated humanely ... To
this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any
time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the
a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds,
mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
b) taking of hostages;
c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and
d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions
without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted
court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized
as indispensable by civilized peoples.
2. The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.
Article 3 expressly binds all parties to the internal conflict, including
insurgents although they do not have the legal capacity to sign the Geneva
Conventions. In teh current conflict in Burma, the government, the KNU and
the DKBO are all parties to the conflict.
U.N. General Assembly Resolution 2444 explicitly recongized the customary
law principle of civilian immunity "in all armed conflicts," meaning both
international and internal conflicts . It affirms:
a) that the right of the parties to a conflict to adopt means of
injuring the enemy is no unlimited;
b) that it is prohibited to launch attacks against civilian
populations as such;
c) that distinctions must be made at all times between persons
taking part in the hostilities and members of the civilian
population to the effect that the latter be spared as much as
The testimony collected by Human Rights Watch/Asia in this report
illustrates that the Burmese military military continue violate each of
these rules. The DKBO, as far is its involvement can be confirmed in the
various attacks which have taken place on civilian refugees in Thailand,
also appears to have violated these rules.
/* Endreport */