May 10, 2018

Statement by the Karen Women’s Organization

The Karen Women’s Organization (KWO) condemns all acts by the Burmese military in violation of the nationwide ceasefire. The Burmese Army has repeatedly demonstrated their lack of accountability and regard for human rights. We call on the International Community to help us and to hold the Burmese military accountable for those violations and for their rejection of humanitarian assistance. Those responsible for the actions of the military must be referred to the International Criminal Court for action.

There have been many examples of violations of rights since the ceasefires were signed, as well as the well documented actions against the Rohingya people. The most recent horrors in Kachin State have left civilians displaced and trapped between combatants while humanitarian aid access was denied. The Burmese Army has been campaigning in violation of the ceasefire in Kachin, Shan, Rakhine and Karen regions forcing thousands of civilians to flee their villages. The Kachin, Shan, Karen and other ethnic communities suffer from a wide variety of human rights violations at the hands of the Burmese military including torture, murder, forced labour, rape and other forms of sexual violence, confiscation of property, arbitrary arrest, detention, and denial of humanitarian assistance.

The violation of our human rights is not new to the ethnic people of Burma, but the situation is clearly deteriorating as the military is allowed to act with impunity. In March 2018, Karen people in Lu Thaw Township, Mu Traw district began being subject to numerous violations of international law including executions, forced displacement and threatening of their food security as the Burmese military advanced into land off their bases. On April 5th Saw Oh Moo, an indigenous Karen Community leader was shot to death by the Burmese Army. The body has not been found and returned to his family for traditional burial.

The Burmese military is systematically using terror and control to destroy our ethnic identity, our religious freedom, to colonise our lands, and steal our natural resources. This must end. Sadly the situation is not improving. We applaud the civil movements including Kachin community and religious leaders attempting to evacuate the trapped civilians to safety. They failed due to actions taken by the Burmese Government and Army. Burmese military’s culture of impunity must end now!

The Burmese Government is clearly unable to force the rule of law over the military and protect their people. We have needed the international community in the past and we desperately need them again. KWO fully supports the Kachin community call on the United Nations to move ahead with the appointment of the Special Envoy to Burma and immediately dispatch him or her to Kachin, Shan, Rakhine and Karen areas to negotiate free movements and humanitarian access. We call on United Nations Security Council members end the impunity within which the Army functions. They must be held responsible for the crimes they have committed. They must be referred to the International Criminal Court for action.


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