This report by Karen Rivers Watch (KRW) reveals that the recent outbreak of fighting – after two years of ceasefire negotiations and relative calm – appears to be part of a calculated military strategy by Burmese forces to control territory in Karen State, possibly motivated by plans to construct the Hatgyi Dam on the Salween River. More than 2,000 villagers were displaced in October as fighting resumed in Karen State, Eastern Burma.
KRW details the escalation of violent conflict in two districts in Burma’s Karen State in October 2014. KRW field interviews reveal a story of forced displacement and serious violations of human rights at the hands of Burmese government forces.
- The Burmese Army and associated Border Guard Force (BGF) have violated the 2012 ceasefire by attacking the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) in September and October 2014.
- Evidence suggests a coordinated Burmese military campaign to extend control along the Salween River, likely motivated by plans to start construction on the controversial Hatgyi Dam.
- The Burmese Army and BGF have committed human rights violations against civilian villagers, including looting homes, confiscating property, and taking at least 100 people for forced labor.
- Civilian villages were hit with mortar fire, forcing over 2,000 people to flee their homes. Most remain in hiding, afraid to return because Burmese troops continue to occupy their villages.
- Those who fled are in need of humanitarian assistance, but Burmese military restrictions on access to the area have hampered delivery of aid.