December 2004 - February 2005

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In October 2004, the Burma Army began an offensive in Southern Karenni State that displaced over 2,000 villagers. Then, in November, the Army began offensives just to the south of this in Western Karen State and Northern Karen State, displacing an additional 5,000 villagers and 3,000 villagers, respectively. All of these individuals, in total over 10,000, were forced to flee their homes and live as internally displaced persons in the forests and mountains of eastern Burma.

They had minimal provisions, and this was the coldest season of the year.

The Free Burma Rangers sent humanitarian relief teams into the affected areas to provide basic supplies and emergency medical assistance. They also collected extensive documentation of the crisis, which, however, was for the most part ignored by the world's media and also the United Nations.

The following is a selection of the images of suffering that FBR recorded.

Part of a village in Nyaunglebin District, Western Karen State, that was burned by the Burma Army in an attack in December, 2004.

IDPs fleeing in Nyaunglebin District.

Mother and child in a hide site, in this case in Toungoo District, Northern Karen State, January 2005.

A large group of IDPs hiding in a mountain hollow, Toungoo District.

A group of Karen children at the site.

Medics treating an injured child at this site.

A mother with her injured baby. The infant fell in a fire at a hide site. They were among a group of Karenni IDPs who fled from Burma Army attacks in Karenni State in January. The mother said:

“We are running from the Burmese. I had to run from my home five times and now it is impossible to stay. We fled here. When the Burma Army comes to our village we flee. We have not been able to return. If the Burma Army captures us I do not know what they will do, maybe kill us. We are afraid and we flee.”

Medics treating the baby. The good news is that the child recovered.

A Karen boy in a hiding place. He was shot by Burmese soldiers in 1997.

An elderly woman in despair.

The enemy. This photo, taken surreptiously and with great risk, is of a Burma Army Sergeant from Infantry Battalion 73 abusing villagers. Villagers are regularly forced to carry loads, clear the road and conduct other forced labor. February 1, 2005, Tantabin (Thandaung) Township, Northern Karen State, Burma.

Eastern Burma is a network of freefire or “black” zones in which villagers are subject to being shot on sight. When the Burma Army departs from an area, it also leaves behind hidden death. These landmines were discovered on a trail used by IDPs in Southern Karenni State. They were placed by the Burma Army in order to terrorize the IDPs and to block their return home.

The above photos document a systematic campaign of terror by the Burma Army against Karen and Karenni villagers, which has as its objective nothing less than ethnic cleansing and even genocide. But the world, starting with the United Nations, stands by and does nothing.