In its new war against Kachin resistance forces, Burma’s regime has deliberately targeted civilians with killings, torture and sexual violence, displacing over 25,000 people during the past four months.
“Burma’s Covered Up War: Atrocities Against the Kachin People” by the Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand (KWAT) documents atrocities committed by the Burma Army since it broke a 17 year ceasefire with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) on June 9. Women and children have suffered some of the worst crimes, including rape and sexual violence. 37 women and girls were raped during the first two months of the conflict; 13 of these were killed.
“Our documentation team was deeply shocked at the details of these crimes. Some women were gang-raped in front of their families. In one case, soldiers slaughtered a woman’s grandchild in front of her before raping and killing her also,” said KWAT spokesperson Shirley Seng.Atrocities have escalated since the regime expanded its offensive in September, deploying over 1,000 troops from nine battalions to seize Kachin strongholds in northern Shan State. On September 24, three separate rape incidents by Burma Army troops occurred in Muse and Kutkai townships, Shan State, involving two girls, aged 14 and 17, and one woman, aged 40.
Thousands of villagers from Kutkai have been displaced in recent weeks, but denied refuge in China and unable to access camps in KIA-controlled areas of Kachin State, have dispersed to towns, other villages and jungle hiding sites.
Over 25,000 villagers already sheltering in makeshift camps along the Kachin-China border are facing severe shortages of food and medicine, as the regime has blocked agencies working officially inside Burma from assisting them. Appeals to foreign governments to address this humanitarian crisis have so far fallen on deaf ears.
KWAT is urging the international community to abandon its “wait and see” policy with Burma, bring increased pressure on the regime to end its military offensives and atrocities, and provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance to the displaced Kachin.
“It was “wait and see” that let the regime start this new war against the Kachin. It is “wait and see” that is letting them carry on attacking women and children. “Wait and see” is a death sentence for us,” said Shirley Seng.
Contact persons: Shirley Seng + 66 86- 9238- 854
Moon Nay Li + 66 85- 6251- 912
Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT) is a non profit-making organisation working on behalf of Kachin women. We have a vision of a Kachin State where all forms of discrimination are eliminated; where all women are empowered to participate in decision making at a local, national and international level; and where all Kachin children have the opportunity to fulfill their potential.