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Armed conflict in Kachin State - human rights violations

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: Discrimination against the Kachin
Description/subject: Link to the Kachin area of the OBL Human Rights section
Language: English
Source/publisher: Online Burma/Myanmar Library
Format/size: html, pdf
Date of entry/update: 08 February 2012


Individual Documents

Title: “I Thought They Would Kill Me” - Ending Wartime Torture in Northern Myanmar
Date of publication: 09 June 2014
Description/subject: "...For the past three years, Myanmar authorities have systematically tortured Kachin civilians perceived to be aligned with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), Fortify Rights said in a new report released today. Fortify Rights believes these abuses constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity. The government of Myanmar should intervene immediately to end the use of torture in the conduct of the ongoing war in Kachin State and northern Shan State, and it should credibly investigate and prosecute members of the Myanmar Army, Myanmar Police Force, and Military Intelligence who are responsible for the serious crimes described in this report. The 71-page report, “I Thought They Would Kill Me”: Ending Wartime Torture in Northern Myanmar, describes the systematic use of torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment (“ill treatment”) of more than 60 civilians by Myanmar authorities from June 2011 to April 2014. Members of the Myanmar Army, Myanmar Police Force, and Military Intelligence deliberately caused severe and lasting mental and physical pain to civilians in combat zones, villages, and places of detention in Kachin State. While some impacts of these crimes are irreparable, none of the survivors interviewed by Fortify Rights have received adequate medical care..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Fortify Rights
Format/size: pdf (5.8MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.fortifyrights.org/downloads/Fortify%20Rights_Myanmar_9_June_2014.pdf
Date of entry/update: 09 June 2014


Title: State terror in the Kachin hills - Burma Army attacks against civilians in Northern Burma
Date of publication: 28 February 2013
Description/subject: Summary: "In late 2012, the Burma Army intensified military operations against strongholds of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). This culminated in a massive offensive on the KIA headquarters at Laiza on the China-Burma border starting in mid-December. This month-long assault involved repeated mortar shelling and aerial bombings in the Laiza area, populated by 20,000 civilians, over half of whom are internally displaced persons (IDPs) who were denied refuge in China. This report documents the killing or injury of 26 civilians, including women, children and the elderly, in Burmese artillery attacks in five areas during the recent military operations. The repeated authorization of artillery fire into areas populated by civilians, as well as deliberate torching of villages and IDP shelters, represent serious breaches of international humanitarian law, and are likely to amount to war crimes. The humanitarian situation in Kachin areas remains critical, with 364 villages wholly or partially abandoned, and over 100,000 people internally displaced. Hardly any international aid has been provided to the 66,000 IDPs in Kachin-controlled areas. There has been little international condemnation of the Burma Army aggression in Kachin State. Foreign governments appear more interested in pursuing diplomatic and economic engagement with Burma’s military-backed government. However, silence on the Burmese military’s crimes risks plunging Burma deeper into civil war, by emboldening Burma’s rulers to continue using force to crush the ethnic resistance movements. . The international community must strongly condemn the crimes committed by the Burma Army, and pressure the Burmese government to end all military aggression, begin troop withdrawal from Kachin areas of Burma, and enter into political dialogue with the Kachin Independence Army to address the demands for ethnic equality at the root of the conflict."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT)
Format/size: pdf (1MB)
Date of entry/update: 03 April 2013


Title: SPECIAL DOSSIER: CASES UNDER THE UNLAWFUL ASSOCIATIONS ACT 1908 BROUGHT AGAINST PEOPLE ACCUSED OF CONTACT WITH KACHIN INDEPENDENCE ARMY
Date of publication: 21 January 2013
Description/subject: "This special dossier of 36 cases brought under the 1908 Unlawful Associations Act against people accused of contact with the Kachin Independence Army was researched and compiled in 2012 by independent human rights defenders in Burma who have requested that the Asian Human Rights Commission disseminate the material...At a time that the conflict in Kachin State between the Kachin Independence Army and Burma armed forces is only getting worse, this dossier marks an important contribution to documentation on human rights abuses in the region, because it signals very sharply the intersection between war and law, between violence in armed combat and violence in interrogation, in the use of torture and other techniques against persons who have been branded enemies of the state...the human rights defenders who gathered and translated this material have two stated objectives: to document and inform people about the use of the Unlawful Associations Act; and, to secure the release of the accused. Both of these objectives are laudable, and strongly supported by the AHRC. Clearly, not enough has been done to document cases of this sort in a way that makes explicit the connection between strategic practices of the military and those of other parts of the state apparatus for the targeting of internal enemies. We firmly hope that by taking these steps, not only will the connections be better understood but also those whose cases are documented will obtain relief through some publicity and attention to their specific plights..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) & Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)
Format/size: pdf (2.7MB-OBL version; 3.46-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.humanrights.asia/countries/burma/reports/Unlawful_Association_Dossier.pdf/view
Date of entry/update: 21 January 2013


Title: THE WAR IN KACHIN STATE: A YEAR OF MORE DISPLACEMENT AND HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES
Date of publication: 08 June 2012
Description/subject: • In the past year, the Tatmadaw has deployed nearly 25% of its battalions to Kachin State, escalating its war with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and bringing further suffering to civilian populations in Kachin State and Northern Shan State. • Tatmadaw soldiers have constantly targeted civilians in Kachin State and Northern Shan States as part of their military operations against the KIA. Human rights abuses have included extrajudicial killings, rape of women, arbitrary arrests, torture, forced displacement, the use of human shields, forced labor, and the confiscation and destruction of property. All of these systematic abuses would be considered war crimes and/or crimes against humanity under international law. • The ongoing conflict has displaced about 75,000 people, including at least 10,000 refugees who crossed the border into China. Despite the severity of the situation, the regime has frustrated relief efforts, severely restricting humanitarian access to local and international organizations. • The KIA’s political leadership, the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), has made repeated attempts to negotiate a lasting peace in Kachin State. However, the regime has rejected the KIO’s request to discuss long-term political solutions prior to a ceasefire agreement. BACKGROUND: 2008 constitution, 2010 elections, BGF, energy projects, and human rights abuses
Language: English
Source/publisher: ALTSEAN-Burma
Format/size: pdf (139K)
Date of entry/update: 09 June 2012


Title: Ongoing Impunity: Continued Burma Army Atrocities Against the Kachin People
Date of publication: June 2012
Description/subject: Summary: "This report provides an update of atrocities committed by the Burma Army against civilians since it broke its 17-year ceasefire with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) one year ago. It highlights the particular suffering of women during the conflict, who have been forced to be porters, used as sex slaves, gang-raped and killed. Since the start of the conflict, there has been a huge deployment of Burmese troops into Kachin State and northern Shan State. Currently about 150 battalions are being used to crush the KIA, tripling the number of Burmese troops in the area. These troops have deliberately targeted civilians for abuse, causing villagers to flee in terror, leaving large swathes of countryside depopulated. There is strong evidence that Burmese troops have used rape systematically as a weapon of war. In the past year, KWAT has documented the rape or sexual assault of at least 43 women and girls, of whom 21 were killed. The rapes have been widespread, occurred in thirteen townships, by ten different battalions. Women have been openly kept as sex slaves by military officers, and gang-raped in church. There has been complete impunity for these crimes. When the husband of a Kachin woman abducted by the Burmese military tried to press charges, the Naypyidaw Supreme Court dismissed the case without even hearing his evidence. The continued abuse against civilians has swelled the numbers of internally displaced persons in Kachin State to over 75,000, most of whom are sheltering in makeshift camps along the China border, where little international aid has reached them. KWAT is calling on the international community to denounce the ongoing human rights abuses, and maintain pressure on the Burmese government to immediately implement a nationwide ceasefire, pull back Burma Army troops from ethnic areas and start dialogue with the United Nationalities Federal Council towards a process of genuine political reform."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Kachin Women's Association Thailand (KWAT)
Format/size: pdf (1.4MB-OBL version; 8.2MB-original))
Alternate URLs: http://www.kachinwomen.com/images/stories/publication/ongoing_iimpunity%20.pdf
Date of entry/update: 11 June 2012


Title: Untold Miseries - Wartime Abuses and Forced Displacement in Burma’s Kachin State
Date of publication: 19 March 2012
Description/subject: 'When Burmese President Thein Sein took office in March 2011, he said that over 60 years of armed conflict have put Burma’s ethnic populations through “the hell of untold miseries.” Just three months later, the Burmese armed forces resumed military operations against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), leading to serious abuses and a humanitarian crisis affecting tens of thousands of ethnic Kachin civilians. “Untold Miseries”: Wartime Abuses and Forced Displacement in Kachin State is based on over 100 interviews in Burma’s Kachin State and China’s Yunnan province. It details how the Burmese army has killed and tortured civilians, raped women, planted antipersonnel landmines, and used forced labor on the front lines, including children as young as 14-years-old. Soldiers have attacked villages, razed homes, and pillaged properties. Burmese authorities have failed to authorize a serious relief effort in KIA-controlled areas, where most of the 75,000 displaced men, women, and children have sought refuge. The KIA has also been responsible for serious abuses, including using child soldiers and antipersonnel landmines. Human Rights Watch calls on the Burmese government to support an independent international mechanism to investigate violations of international human rights and humanitarian law by all parties to Burma’s ethnic armed conflicts. The government should also provide United Nations and humanitarian agencies unhindered access to all internally displaced populations, and make a long-term commitment with humanitarian agencies to authorize relief to populations in need.'
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Watch
Format/size: pdf (1.7MB - OBL version; 2.25MB - original))
Alternate URLs: http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/burma0312ForUpload_1.pdf
Date of entry/update: 20 March 2012


Title: Burma Army continues attacks, burns houses and kills one man and two women; over 40,000 Kachin people now displaced by attacks and more preparing to run
Date of publication: 22 January 2012
Description/subject: KEY DEVELOPMENTS: * The Burma Army is currently attacking within six miles of Mai Ja Yang, a city in Kachin State that is a refuge for over 1,000 displaced people * The Burma Army is firing an average of 100 mortar rounds per day into this area and is receiving reinforcements. * Over 40,000 Kachin people now displaced by attacks and more are preparing to run
Language: English
Source/publisher: Free Burma Rangers (FBR)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2012


Title: Two women and one man killed, 70-year-old woman wounded, and four men tortured as Burma Army attacks villages in Kachin State
Date of publication: 17 January 2012
Description/subject: KEY DEVELOPMENTS: Burma Army Infantry Battalion (IB) 105, commanded by Major Moe Kyaw, stabbed and shot three villagers to death, shot a 70-year-old woman and tortured four villagers in Mun Si Township, Kachin State
Language: English
Source/publisher: Free Burma Rangers (FBR)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2012


Title: Under Siege in Kachin State, Burma
Date of publication: November 2011
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "In September 2011, as the international community discussed easing sanctions on Burma’s military-backed civilian government, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) conducted an emergency investigation in Burma’s Kachin State in response to reports of grave human rights violations in the region. The aims of the study were 1. to independently investigate reported human rights abuses and war crimes; and 2. to assess the humanitarian situation and nutritional status of internally displaced persons (IDPs) displaced by conflict in 2011. This report provides the first humanitarian assessment of some of the IDPs living in areas of Kachin State that are not controlled by the Burmese government. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) recently released a report on the health situation of 5900 IDPs in urban and peri-urban areas of Kachin state that are under Burmese government control. But no mention was made of the estimated 22,000 displaced people in other areas of the state. PHR conducted its investigation entirely in these areas; this report will help to build a more complete picture of the humanitarian situation among internally displaced persons in politically contested areas in Kachin State. The human rights investigation provides compelling evidence that the Burmese army (the Tatmadaw) has committed multiple human rights violations in Kachin State. Between June and September 2011, the Burmese army looted food from civilians, fired indiscriminately into villages, threatened villages with attacks, and used civilians as porters, human minesweepers, and impressed guides. Our findings are consistent with similar reports of human rights abuses in other ethnic states, and suggest that violations of rights of ethnic nationalities in the country by the central government are systematic and widespread. In addition to the human rights investigation, PHR visited six camps and four shelters for displaced Kachin civilians on the Sino-Burmese border and conducted health and nutrition assessments from 22-30 September, 2011. The camps fail to meet multiple minimum humanitarian standards outlined in the Sphere humanitarian guidelines. Camps are overcrowded and there are insufficient numbers of latrines and water supply points. Camp medical staff reported that upper respiratory infections and diarrhea were the most common reasons for clinic visits, and that they experienced shortages in medicine for infants. Key human rights findings of this report: • The Burmese army forced Kachin civilians to guide combat units and walk in front of army columns to trigger landmines. This practice puts civilians at extreme risk of injury and death and is a war crime. • The Burmese army regularly pillaged food and supplies from civilians. This practice is prohibited under customary international humanitarian law. • The Burmese army fired automatic weapons directly into a civilian village, striking nonmilitary targets. The intentional direction of attacks against civilians is also recognized as a war crime in the Rome Statute1, the treaty that created the International Criminal Court. 1. Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, art. 8(2), 17 Jul. 1998, 2187 U.N.T.S. 90, entered into force 1 Jul, 2002. 4 Under Siege in Kachin State, Burma Key related humanitarian concerns: • IDP camps are overcrowded and the numbers of latrines and water supply points are insufficient to ensure that residents’ human rights to clean food and water are met. Camp medical staff reported insufficient supplies of medicine for infants. • Eleven percent of children under five years old in one camp in Laiza were found to be severely or moderately malnourished, a situation that the World Health Organization (WHO) classifies as “severe” and warrants targeted supplementary feeding programs. • Very little aid reaches IDP camps, and groups caring for them face challenges in providing food, medicine, and shelter. The most vulnerable populations—those in rural areas and near the border—have not received any official humanitarian aid; they are only receiving aid from community-based organizations, which have largely been ignored by the international donor community. This investigation suggests that the incremental political changes in central Burma have not translated into improved livelihoods or improved the human rights situation of ethnic populations living along Burma’s frontiers. The government of Burma has announced greater freedoms, including unblocking some internet websites and limiting censorship in the press, and releasing Aung San Suu Kyi and a fraction of the other political prisoners in the country. Some in the international community have asserted that political change has come to Burma; however, these changes largely are confined to the urban, primarily ethnic Burman, population. For many of the peoples of Burma facing conflict and abuse, including the Kachin peoples, the brutality of the old regime remains an omnipresent threat. PHR’s findings come at a crucial moment when the international community is considering easing sanctions on Burma in response to its positive steps towards what Senior General Than Shwe has called “disciplined democracy.” PHR welcomes the stated commitment of the government to greater openness and urges the international community to ensure that the rhetoric translates into positive action for all people in Burma. The Kachin and other groups continue to endure grave human rights violations at the hands of the Burmese army. True progress must be measured by thorough analysis of the extent of the government’s abuses and by establishing a system through which perpetrators are held accountable for their actions..."
Author/creator: Bill Davis, MA, MPH
Language: English
Source/publisher: Physicians for Human Rights
Format/size: pdf (554K - 0riginal; 458K - OBL version)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs12/Under_Seige_in_Kachin_State_Burma-2011-11-red.pdf
Date of entry/update: 02 December 2011