15 September 2020: The latest situation report by the Network for Human Rights Documentation-Burma (ND-Burma) reveals a steady increase of human rights violations against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and active conflict. During the reporting period of January to June 2020, ND-Burma recorded 401 cases and 446 human rights violations across six states and one region including Rakhine, Chin, Mon, Karen, Kachin, Shan states and Tanintharyi region. Clashes overwhelmingly took place in Chin, Rakhine and northern Shan states with frequent skirmishes in Karen, Mon and Kachin states.
ND-Burma member organizations also observed a continued pattern of refuted accountability, despite mounting evidence of crimes against humanity and war crimes by the main perpetrator – the Burma Army. Our members have taken exceptional risks in their documentation in their efforts to hold perpetrators of human rights violations liable in our joint pursuits for justice. Drawing on evidence from member data and situational analysis, ND-Burma has concluded that armed conflict has perpetuated a dangerous cycle of rampant abuses for civilians across the country.
Among our key findings, ND-Burma member organizations observed 1047 victims of human rights abuses. The majority of civilians were impacted by killings, arbitrary arrest and detainment, forced displacement and torture with northern Shan, Rakhine and Chin experiencing the most clashes. These abuses were all exacerbated by an unstable security situation. Violations took place in ceasefire areas, despite agreements made between armed groups and the Burma Army.
ND-Burma members also documented cases showing how the Burma Army continues to systematically target civilians through ‘divide and rule’ tactics including the four cuts strategy which seeks to deprive groups of food, funds, recruits and information. Military blockages of humanitarian aid delayed emergency response efforts in conflict areas, which was of exceptional concern for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Further, there continues to be a shrinking space for journalists who are working in a heavily censored environment.
ND-Burma renews our calls for accountability and justice for the many grave human rights abuses that have been committed. If the process of national reconciliation is to be taken seriously, all stakeholders must commit to ceasefires by making them inclusive and engaging in a dialogue that considers the needs of those impacted by conflict. Decades of civil war have resulted in forced displacement and a lack of trust by communities impacted by the worst of the violence. Reparations and accountability are long overdue – indeed, the people of Burma deserve justice.
Ko Ting Oo, All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress
Ph No: + 66 81 595 6138, 95 9 891 424 201
Lway Poe Jay, Ta’ang Students and Youth Union
Ph No: +09 264 162 229
ND-Burma is a network that consists of 13-member organisations who represent a range of ethnic nationalities, women and former political prisoners. ND-Burma member organisations have been documenting human rights abuses and fighting for justice for victims since 2004. The network consists of nine Full Members and four Affiliate Members as follows.