“‘I Still Remember’: Desires for acknowledgment and justice for human rights violations in Mon areas of southern Burma.”

Since Burma’s transition from a military government to a nominally civilian-led one beginning in 2010, ‘national reconciliation’ has become a ubiquitous concept amongst politicians and those advocating for peace in Burma after more than 60 years of civil war. With the National League for Democracy’s (NLD) historic electoral win in 2015, hope was further renewed for rebuilding Burma into a genuine democracy and uniting its fragmented society.

Yet, for all its usage by those in power, the rhetoric of ‘national reconciliation’ increasingly rings hollow. As press freedoms are curtailed and armed conflict and human rights violations continue unabated in northern Rakhine, Kachin, and Shan states, too little has changed in the intervening years since Burma embarked on its democratic transition. Rather than acknowledging Burma’s history of vast human rights violations, the current administration in Burma seems unwilling or unable to address its violent past, instead resorting to victim blaming when individuals are unable to forget the violence inflicted upon them.

The testimony gathered for this report shows that the majority of villagers interviewed in Mon State and Mon areas of southeast Burma not only are unable to forget the past, but do desire some form of justice for abuses endured over the past decades. In addition to providing evidence of the widespread and systematic violation of human rights by the Burma Army and Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) since 1995, this report aims to present the voices of villagers and their desires for justice. In doing so, it counters the Burma government’s narrative that national reconciliation is possible without confronting its violent past and shows that the implementation of transitional justice mechanisms, particularly reparations, are necessary for the country to heal.

This report is divided into seven main sections. After the Introduction (Chapter 1) and Methodology (Chapter 2), a brief overview of transitional justice is provided (Chapter 3). Next, Patterns of Abuse (Chapter 4) are explored, presenting evidence of the widespread and systematic violation of human rights by the Burma Army and EAOs through the analysis of 22 years of documentation by the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM). These abuses are divided into four main categories: 1) arbitrary arrest, detention, and torture; 2) extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances; 3) rape and other forms of sexual violence; and 4) land, property, and housing (LPH) rights violations. Villager Demands for Justice (Chapter 5) provides the analysis of oral testimony by villagers in Mon State and Mon areas of southeast Burma, attesting to their inability to forget their painful past and their desires for justice. Finally, after the Conclusion (Chapter 6), Recommendations (Chapter 7) for the Burma government, Burma parliament, EAOs, and the International Community are presented.

Download full report in English HERE.

Download the briefer in English HERE.

အစီရင္ခံစာ အႏွစ္ခ်ဳပ္ျမန္မာဘာသာကုိ ဤေနရာတြင္ ရယူႏုိင္သည္။

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