9 February 2022
For Immediate Release
Today, the Karenni Human Rights Group (KnHRG) and the Network for Human Rights Documentation – Burma (ND-Burma) with supporting data from a local Karenni women’s organization release a new briefing paper, “The World Must Know,” which finds evidence of crimes against humanity and war crimes perpetrated by the military junta in Karenni (Kayah) State. We condemn the ongoing escalation of targeted attacks against civilians and call for an immediate cessation in violence.
Fighting in Karenni (Kayah) State began intensifying in May 2021. Throughout the year, Myanmar’s smallest state faced increasing military offensives which isolated the civilian population and forced over one quarter to flee for safety. The ‘Christmas Eve massacre’ on 24 December 2021, truly revealed the horrors the military junta was capable of when approximately 40 villages were arrested and set on fire in vehicles where they were burned alive. Indeed, the world must know the crimes the military has committed and the unlawful means which they have adopted to terrorize innocent people.
“The acts by these soldiers are not comparable to anything – they are not human. There are no words for the crimes they have committed which are so far outside the bounds of law. The world must know the cruel acts which have taken place in our Kayah State,” said the sister of one of the victims of the Christmas Eve massacre in an interview with ND-Burma.
Civilians are continuing to flee terrifying conditions in their homelands which have forced them to abandon their livelihoods. Thousands have been internally displaced and are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Rather than respond to the needs of local people, the regime has deployed airstrikes on IDP camps and taken concrete steps to deliberately further intimidate them. These atrocities are being perpetrated by the junta in a blatant disregard for the rule of law.
The international community must take action to hold the military junta accountable for their crimes. A failure to respond with serious repercussions sends a signal to the junta that they are invincible. Since attempting to harbor power in a failed coup last year, the generals have made it very clear that they have no interest in preserving the rights and freedoms of citizens.
Coup leader, Min Aung Hlaing, is a war-criminal guilty of mass crimes including those which amounts to genocide. He, and other high-level officials must be prosecuted at the maximum level to send a strong message that widespread human rights violations are a crime and those responsible will be held accountable.
For more information:
Network for Human Rights Documentation – Burma
Karenni Human Rights Group
Karenni Human Rights Group is a civil society organization dedicated to reporting the current situation on the ground in Karenni state and the human rights abuses committed by the Burmese junta.
ND-Burma is a network that consists of 13-member organisations who represent a range of ethnic nationalities, women and former political prisoners. ND-Burma member organisations have been documenting human rights abuses and fighting for justice for victims since 2004. The network consists of nine Full Members and four Affiliate Members as follows:
- All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress
- Assistance Association for Political Prisoners
- Association Human Rights Defenders and Promoters
- Future Light Center
- Human Rights Foundation of Monland
- Kachin Women’s Association – Thailand
- Ta’ang Women’s Organization
- Ta’ang Students and Youth Union
- Tavoyan Women’s Union
- Chin Human Rights Organization
- East Bago – Former Political Prisoners Network
- Pa-O Youth Organization
- Progressive Voice