In 2016 ethnic conflict has intensified in many areas of Burma and has seen an increase in human rights violations (HRVs) perpetrated by both the Burma Army and Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs). Already in the first six months of 2016 ND-Burma has documented 98 HRVs in Burma, a stark increase from the 84 HRVs documented by ND-Burma throughout the entire year of 2015. The information presented in this report is based on data collected by field workers from ND-Burma member organizations in ten out of 14 states and regions in Burma. Additional information stems from media sources as well as NGO reports. Each HRV refers to a specific incident that may have affected a large number of people, therefore the number of HRVs documented in this report does not correspond to the number of victims, this number is much larger.
Burma reached a historical turning point when the first democratically elected government in over 50 years took office on April 1, 2016. With the transition of government came new opportunities and widespread hope for reform, national reconciliation and transitional justice. There were some promising advancements in the first few weeks of the new governments reign, with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi announcing the government’s intention to release political prisoners, as a first priority. Following this announcement scores of activists were released in a series of amnesties. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) confirmed the release of 235 political activists as a result of the April amnesties. Despite hopes for positive change ethnic conflict has escalated in several areas of Burma giving rise to a number of HRVs, affecting the lives of thousands of civilians and hampering the national reconciliation process.
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