June 1, 2016

Update by the Shan Human Rights Foundation

Torture, extrajudicial killing, and use of civilians as human shields by Burma Army during new offensive against SSPP/SSA near Upper Yeywa dam site in Kyaukme.

During May 2016, the Burma Army has committed grave human rights violations, which meet the definition of war crimes, during a new offensive against the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) in Kyaukme township, northern Shan State, close to the Upper Yeywa dam site on the Namtu/Myitnge river.

On May 3, 2016, without warning, about 500 troops from four Burma Army battalions (LIB 325, 502, 503 and 114) launched an attack on SSPP/SSA administered areas south of Kyaukme town, despite the fact that SSPP/SSA has an existing ceasefire with the Burmese government, and has been operating there for decades.

After over a week of heavy fighting, the Burma Army sent in helicopter gunships on May 13, which dropped bombs around eight villages, and by mid-May about 1,000 Burmese troops had occupied most of the area (with reinforcements from IB 23, LIB 501, 504, 115 and 17). Over 1,000 villagers were displaced by the offensive.

Grave human rights violations by the Burma Army during this offensive include the use of 43 villagers, including women, as human shields; severe torture of 5 villagers; and extrajudicial killing of at least 3 civilians, with 5 other bodies yet to be identified.

A summary of the violations is available here.

Website: http://www.shanhumanrights.org

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