Contact: Roland Watson, roland@dictatorwatch.org


January 13, 2004

This is an update on the internally displaced person (IDP) crisis now in progress in eastern Burma. Please also see www.dictatorwatch.org/prhumancrisis.html, and for associated photography, www.dictatorwatch.org/phshows/ethniccleansing.html. (Note: one of the photos is disturbing.)

As described in the following report, there are now over 2,000 new IDPs inside Karen State. They are the subjects of ethnic cleansing – it is happening Right Now – and are under extreme duress. Without relief, which can only come if the nations of the world, and the United Nations, demand that the SPDC cease and desist, many of them will die. This demand can be made directly through envoys resident in Rangoon, to the SPDC’s representatives around the world, and through their primary foreign ally, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand. Further, if this demand is not met, we recommend intervention, a humanitarian military intervention, to save these individuals’ lives.

If you are a democracy activist, please do everything you can to bring this pressure to bear, including by informing any press contacts that you have. This is news from Burma that should not be ignored.

Regarding the SPDC leaders, Than Shwe, Maung Aye and Khin Nyunt, we should remember the IDPs when we consider their “roadmap to democracy” and “national convention.” The generals are among the most brutal, despicable people on earth. If they are not rightly killed in the liberation of the nation, they must be jailed for life.

Free Burma Rangers report
Karen and Karenni Update
January 11, 2004

There are now over 1,000 Karenni IDPs and 1,000 Karen IDPs on the Karen-Karenni border, just inside northern Muthraw district, Karen State. This is due to ongoing attacks by the Burma Army.

The Burma Army is concentrating on clearing all Karenni refugees out of southern Karenni State and is burning rice barns, chasing civilians out of their villages, and laying landmines around the abandoned villages. The Burma Army has crossed over to the Karen State side of the border and chased the villagers of Ka Lae Lo, Lay Wa, Say Ba Ti and Marmee from their villages. They burned down 2 rice barns at Ka Lae Lo village and planted a landmine on the main trail out of Ka Lae Lo about 500 meters from the village. On January 7 at 11.45 (Burma Time), a 17-year-old boy stepped on a landmine (Burma Army mine MM2 or the same type Chinese manufacture), outside of Ka Lae Lo village and lost his leg from the knee down. A FBR team who was nearby interviewing the villagers whose rice barns were burned along with another KNU medic responded and applied first aid. An emergency amputation was conducted and the boy was stabilized and then carried for four days to a mobile clinic. He is alive and is recovering. On Jan 8, the same FBR team witnessed the Burma Army burn down a villagers rice barn (Yu Hae Daw Ko village farm), across the river in Karenni State. Karenni villagers fleeing the attacks reported that three persons had died of starvation inside Karenni State and that many more were trapped in the jungle north of the Mawchi-Toungoo road. An unknown number of Karenni IDPs have fled to Toungoo District of the Karen state. On 26 December 2003, the Burma Army ordered all Karenni villagers north and south of the Mawchi road to relocate to Mahntahlayn near Pasaung (on the west bank of the Salween river), or be shot on site. On 29 December the Burma army began to force these villagers out of their villages. The largest concentration of IDPs who have fled these attacks are in the northern Muthraw district, where 995 Karenni IDPs and 678 Karen IDPs are in hiding together. Rice is running out and although there is a relief team providing emergency medical assistance, medicine will run out in two weeks if there is no resupply. Karenni have reported that the Burma Army is building a new road from Mawchi south east to Htee Lay Kee in #1 township of District 2 to serve the new Wolfram mine there. The Burma Army has forced the villagers of #2 and # 3 townships of District 2 to relocate along the Mawchi-Toungoo road and to porter for the Burma Army as well as to build a new army camp one mile west of Mawchi at Kaw Ku. This started on December 10, 2003. Also starting on this same date, 80 Karenni women and 40 Karenni men have been forced to carry supplies for the Burma Army from Mawchi to the Karen-Karenni border. The Karenni also report that the Burma Army has brought 1,000 new soldiers up from the Kaukkyi area (Naunglybin District, Karen state), to reinforce these operations. The Karenni say the Burma Army is taking advantage of the Karen unofficial ceasefire to concentrate their forces against the Karenni.