November 22, 2006

Media Release from Karen Human Rights Group

Karen Women Resist Attacks by Burmese Regime

Read the report here

On November 22nd, Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) will release a report which accuses the Burmese military regime of repeatedly attacking unarmed women in Burma.  The report is titled ‘Dignity in the Shadow of Oppression: The Abuse and Agency of Karen Women under Militarisation’.

Naw Gale, a Karen spokeswoman from KHRG says “The military are raping, torturing and killing unarmed Karen women in Burma and burning their houses and fields so that they will be starved into submission.”

According to KHRG, the attacks on Karen women are part of the military regime’s plans to force civilians to submit to its control. However, civilians in Burma oppose the brutal, illegitimate regime and try to resist its oppression.

Karen women resist by refusing to give in to the demands of soldiers.  In a departure from tradition, many are now village heads and work to undermine the military’s power.  They hide the family’s food to avoid theft by soldiers and set up secret jungle markets to by-pass the regime’s trade blockades.

To avoid forced relocation and forced labour for the regime, people flee into the jungle, playing cat-and-mouse with the military to continue working their fields, whilst evading capture.

Naw Gale says “Forced labour happens all the time.  The villagers are forced to work unpaid, often they are killed with the work, they are beaten along the way and given nothing to eat.  Everyone tries to make sure they are not taken for this labour.”

Karen Human Rights Group insists that governments of the world act to stop Burma’s brutal dictatorship from attacking its own people.

On November 25th people around the world will commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, but in Burma the day will pass with the same brutality as every other.

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Read the report here

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