Open Letter from Civil Society Organisations Urging the British Government to Include the Burma (Myanmar) Armed Forces in the Proscribed International Terrorist Groups List

To,

Rt Hon Priti Patel MP
Secretary of State for the Home Department
House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA

Date: Monday July 13, 2020

Dear Rt Hon Priti Patel MP,

Subject: We the undersigned organizations are calling upon your government to include the Burma (Myanmar) Armed Forces in the Proscribed International Terrorist Groups List

Over many decades the Burma Armed Forces have brought terrors to the civilian population in Kachin, Karen, Karenni, Chin, Mon, Rakhine and Shan States. The Burma Armed Forces committed the use or threat of action which: involves serious violence against a person; involves serious damage to property; endangers a person’s life (other than that of the person committing the act); creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or section of the public; or is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system. The use or threat to influence the government or an international governmental organisation or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and undertaken for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause.

In Rakhine and Chin State, the Burmese government cut off the internet access since the civil war began last year. The people who live in northern Rakhine state and some parts of Chin state are now without internet access for almost a year. The reason given was to foster more stability in the area. But in reality, the grounds for internet stoppage is different from the reported reason. In fact, the government and military are using the internet shut-down to monopolize information, thereby robbing people of the truth about Arakan (Rakhine) conflicts. This helps to cover up the atrocities/terrors they commit in Arakan (Rakhine) state and make the local people more fearful and compliant.

Over the past 18 months, as part of the so-called “Clearance Operations” within Rakhine and Chin States, it has been recorded that the Burma armed forces have:

1) Committed over 400 extra-judicial killings,

2) Forcefully removed over 190,000 people from their own homes, (over one million IDPs across Burma)

3) Burned down over 1000 homes,

4) Destroyed schools, cultural and religious properties,

5) Used heavy artillery rounds, dropped aerial bombs, including powerful thermobaric weapons against unarmed civilians.

A series of ongoing persecutions by the Burmese government against Rohingya people since 1978. The genocide has consisted of five phases to date: the first occurred in 1978. Then in 1991/92, 2012, 2016 and the last have been occurring since August 2017. Burma’s so-called “Clearance Operations”

forced over a million Rohingya to flee to other countries, most fled to Bangladesh.

In Kachin State and Northern Shan State, Burma army committed terror by destroying 405 villages, 311 Christian churches, 134 pre-schools, 122 public schools and 264 local clinics. Their terror actions produced 130,000 Kachin IDPs in 165 IDP camps. There were total 4,706 Burma military terror attacks on Kachin from 2011 to 2018; 3,862 attacks ground attacks, 411 jetfighter and gunship helicopter attacks and 433 artillery attacks.

In Karen State, despite signing the National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), fighting between the Burma military and the Karen National Liberation Army – the armed wing of the Karen National Union – has been ongoing. Indiscriminate shelling by the Burma military into local villages has killed innocent civilians. This has brought terrors to the Karen civilians and resulted in the displacement of many villagers.

In Shan State, on between 24-30 June 2020, the Burma military sent combat troops from LIB 256 (under Infantry Division 101) and reinforcements from Burma military IB 22, 23, 101 and 147 troops scoured around Shan local villages, causing residents to flee and hide in terror. On arriving at Pang Gaen village, Burma military troops saw an elderly couple running to hide in the primary school. They followed them into the school and shot the husband, 58-year-old Loong Suu, at close range, wounding him. The old man staggered out into the school compound, and they shot him again, killing him.

In the same village, an elderly woman was injured by shrapnel as she ran into her house to take shelter, and a 56-year-old farmer forced to porter for the Burma military soldiers, was beaten unconscious because the troops accused him of lying about the whereabouts of Shan soldiers. The terror fightings and abuses of the Burma Armed Forces have caused over 600 civilians, mostly elderly, women and children, to flee to surrounding villages, where they sheltered at close quarters in temples, unable to practice social distancing against Covid-19.

While the international community is working closely with international partners to combat the spread of the Coronavirus disease, the Burma army has instead increased terrorising the civilian populations in Rakhine, Karen and Shan State.

We undersigned organisations urge your government to immediately to include the Burma (Myanmar) Armed Forces in the Proscribed International Terrorist Groups List and immediately ban all military support and defence cooperation.

Furthermore, there should be an immediate imposition of a global arms embargo. While Burma military is facing trial in the International Court of Justice for breaching of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, labelling the Burma Armed Forces as the Proscribed International Terrorist Group would force them to abandon their genocide and state-sponsored terrorist activities in the region. This will also safeguard ten thousands of civilians’ life and help to create stability in the region, including ending influxes of Burmese refugees worldwide.

Sincerely yours,

Undersigned organizations:

1. Australia Arakanese (Rakhine) Association, NSW. Inc

2. Calgary Karen Community Association (CKCA)

3. Edmonton Karen Community Youth Organization

4. Federated Tai Development Organisation

5. Free Rohingya Coalition (FRC)

6. Karen National Defence Organisation/Karen National Liberation Army

7. Karen Community Association UK

8. Kachin National Organisation

9. Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT)

10. Karen Community of Canada (KCC)

11. Karen Community Society of British Columbia (KCSBC)

12. Karen Community of Lethbridge

13. Karen Community of Regina

14. Karen Community of Saskatoon

15. Karen Community of Winnipeg

16. Karen Community of Thunderbay

17. Karen Community of Toronto

18. Karen Community of Kitchener & Waterloo

19. Karen Community of Hamilton

20. Karen Community London

21. Karen Community of Windsor

22. Karen Community of Leamington

23. Karen Youth of Toronto

24. Karen Community of Ottawa

25. Karen Youth of Norway (KYN)

26. Karen Community of Ireland

27. Karen Community of Israel

28. Karen Community of Finland

29. Karen Swedish Community

30. Karen Community of Czech Republic

31. Overseas Shan Europe

Contact:

Representative Office of Kachin National Organisation

6 Blackthorn Court,

5 Dormers Wells Lane,

Southall,

UB1 3HT, United Kingdom

Email: [email protected]

Download the letter in PDF.

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