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Date: Wed, 11 Aug 1999 00:02:28 +0800
Reply-To: Southeast Asia Discussion List <SEASIA-L@LIST.MSU.EDU>
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From: E Phillip Lim <alsona@PACIFIC.NET.SG>
Subject: Fwd: MM: Burmese Soldiers Slaughter 22 Karen Villagers

Burmese Soldiers Slaughter 22 Karen Villagers

From the Jubilee Campaign
10 August 1999

At least 22 Karen villagers, including a baby and 2 children, aged 2 and 8, were recently massacred by Burmese soldiers. Karen sources report that on 26th July this year, a column from Burmese Infantry Battalion 101, commanded by Lt. Col. Soe Win, entered Kawei and Hpway Plaw villages 11 miles to the north of Taninthayi town, Mergui district, Tenasserim Division.

The next day the soldiers slaughtered at least 22 villagers from Kawei and Hpway Plaw villages. Some villagers are still missing and have not yet been included in the death toll. The victims were beaten to death or stabbed. Some had their arms and legs broken first and were killed later. Others were placed inside empty rice sacks and pounded with a rice husker until they died. 19 year old Naw Nall Naw was gang raped by the soldiers before she was killed.

The soldiers looted whatever they found useful and destroyed the rest of the villagers' property completely. More than 200 cattle were taken away by the troops to the army camp at Ta Hpo Hta village, which also serves as a relocation site where villagers are forcibly moved to. Many other villagers from the area have fled and about 137 people are reported to have reached a safer location. An estimated 400 people are desperately trying to get to safety and have been pursued by Burmese troops from Infantry Battalions 101 and 103, who intend to slaughter them.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Burma, Mr. Rajsoomer Lallah, submitted a report to the United Nations General Assembly last year, dated September 10th 1998 and entitled, "Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar" (reference: A/53/364). Paragraph 59 of the report reads, "The Special Rapporteur is deeply concerned about the serious human rights violations that continue to be committed by the armed forces in the ethnic minority areas. The violations include extrajudicial and arbitrary executions (not sparing women and children), rape, torture, inhuman treatment, forced labour and denial of freedom of movement. These violations have been so numerous and consistent over the past years as to suggest that they are not simply isolated or the acts of individual misbehaviour by middle- and lower- rank officers but are rather the result of policy at the highest level, entailing political and legal responsibility."

At least 30,000 Karen people have died in the last five years as a direct or indirect result of Burmese military action. An estimated 300,000 Karen have been internally displaced by the Burmese army. Many of them are hiding in the jungles with little food and no medicine and are normally shot on sight by Burmese soldiers. About 120,000 Karen have fled to refugee camps in Thailand.

The Karen are the largest ethnic minority in Burma, with about 8 million or more people. An estimated 40% of the Karen are Christians. Burma's military regime has been carrying out genocide against the Karen people and other minorities such as the Karenni and Shan for several years yet there has been relatively little response from the international community. Western companies such as British oil company, Premier Oil, continue to invest in Burma, despite numerous requests for them to stop.

Wilfred Wong, Parliamentary Officer for the Jubilee Campaign, says, "It is appalling that the West looks the other way while innocent men, women and children continue to be slaughtered by Burma's genocidal regime. It is this kind of indifference that allows mass murderers to flourish. Western governments should stop their highly selective approach to human rights, only acting when the abuses are on European soil or affects their economic and political interests."

Jubilee Campaign is calling for the Burmese regime and their subordinates to be tried for genocide and other crimes against humanity and for global economic sanctions against Burma. Jubilee Campaign has also been urging the British Foreign Office to ban all new investment by British companies in Burma, a position which the government has so far refused to take.

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