The Network for Human Rights Documentation – Burma (ND-Burma) has released a periodic report documenting the human rights situation in Burma during the period of January – June 2013. The report documents 147 cases of human rights violations committed by the government and military throughout Burma. These numbers, while still representing an unacceptable amount of human rights violations, do not fully demonstrate the current situation because of challenges to documentation and continued government harassment of human rights defenders. Despite these challenges, ND-Burma was able to document 40 cases of confiscation/destruction of property, 23 cases of arbitrary taxation, 20 cases of forced labour, 16 cases of torture and 10 cases of killing, among others. The violations were committed as a direct result of on-going armed conflict, and of the close relationship between the military and business.
These violations were documented in areas of armed conflict and in ceasefire areas. ND-Burma’s findings demonstrate that, despite progress in reaching ceasefire agreements with non-state armed groups, the government has made little progress protecting the human rights of its citizens. However, ND-Burma did find a shift in the types of violations in ceasefire areas, from conflict-related abuses to those related to business and development.
Despite harassment and arrest of human rights defenders, more people are starting to talk about the truth of what they have suffered. We can see this clearly from the case of Lahtaw Brang Shawng, a Kachin farmer who spoke out about being tortured. Moreover, during the ’88 Uprising commemorations, some participants spoke out with proposals of how to deal with past atrocities, including by calling for apologies, memorialization, truth-seeking, and forgiveness. That is the right track to start seeking truth and justice for the past and moving on to the future. By documenting and reporting on continuing violations, ND-Burma hopes to contribute to the efforts of addressing the past and promoting reconciliation.
The full report can be viewed at: www.nd-burma.org
For further information,
Name: Han Gyi (Coordinator)
Mobile: (+66) 0819615992 (Thailand)
Name: Salai Bawi Pi: (Advocacy Team)
Mobile: (+95) 097-3023-139 (Myanmar/Burma)