News

    Rights Group Says Burmese Abuses Continue in Kachin State

    Ethnic Kachin people sit in the doorways of shelters at a temporary camp for people displaced by fighting between government troops and the Kachin Independence Army, or KIA, outside the city of Myitkyina in the north of the country, February 22, 2012.
    Ethnic Kachin people sit in the doorways of shelters at a temporary camp for people displaced by fighting between government troops and the Kachin Independence Army, or KIA, outside the city of Myitkyina in the north of the country, February 22, 2012.
    Daniel Schearf

    Rights groups say Burmese military abuses continue in northern Kachin state including torture, rape, and deliberate attacks on civilians. Fighting between Burma’s military and ethnic Kachin rebels has displaced tens of thousands of civilians, but authorities are refusing to allow humanitarian aid to rebel-controlled areas.

    Abuses continue

    Human Rights Watch says that, despite Burma’s recent political reforms that have won widespread international praise, there has been no significant change in abuses committed by the country’s military.

    In a report released Tuesday, the New York-based group details numerous rights violations it says were committed in the last year in northern Kachin state.

    Matthew Smith, a researcher with the group, spoke to the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand.

    “The army has forced men, women, and children to serve as porters on the front lines of the fighting. It has deliberately attacked Kachin civilians and villages," said Smith. "It has killed Kachin civilians, tortured civilian detainees, and committed rape and other forms of sexual violence.”

    Fighting broke out in June between the army and Kachin rebels, ending a 17-year ceasefire.

    Human Rights Watch says both sides are guilty of recruiting child soldiers, some as young as 14.

    Land mines

    They are also laying fresh land mines that at least one side, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) is failing to map at the risk of civilians and even its own fighters. Human Rights Watch says more than 40 KIA rebels were killed by their own land mines in the last year.
    The clashes have displaced at least 75,000 civilians around the Burma-China border and made them dependent on humanitarian aid.

    Although authorities have allowed aid groups to help those in government-controlled areas, they only allowed access once, in December, to 45,000 refugees in rebel-held territory.
    Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, says refusing aid violates international humanitarian law.

    “This is a decision by the Burma government not the Burma army. But, this is the Burma government,' said Robertson. "This is the reform government of Burma that people keep talking about as, you know leading the way and denying humanitarian access in a systematic way.”

    Robertson says international pressure is needed to ensure authorities allow aid to flow sustained and unhindered to those in need.

    Human Rights Watch is also calling for Burma to allow an independent, international mechanism to investigate allegations of abuse.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora