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/* 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


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
        following provisions:
        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
        above-mentioned persons:
        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
        degrading treatment;
        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 [7]. 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 */