CSW uncovers more evidence of human rights abuses in Burma

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) recently returned from a three-week visit to South-East Asia with fresh evidence of human rights violations in Burma.

CSW visited the Kachin ethnic group in northern Burma with the Free Burma Rangers, and made a separate visit to Chin refugees in Malaysia.

A CSW representative heard first-hand testimony of rape, religious discrimination and land confiscation in Kachin State, and met a Chin pastor, now in Malaysia, who had been forced by Burma’s military regime to deliver a speech at a public rally denouncing human rights campaigners and claiming to enjoy complete religious freedom.

CSW also met representatives of the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) the day after the regime had ordered the KIO to surrender its arms and soldiers to Burma Army control.

In a detailed report of the visit to the Kachin released on Friday, CSW quoted the testimony of a 21 year-old Bible school student who was raped and strangled by two Burma Army soldiers.

After describing her ordeal, the student told CSW that she had heard that one of the soldiers had raped many girls, but had never been brought to justice.

“Every woman should be careful. My experience is an example for other girls … I want justice to be done," she said.

CSW’s East Asia Team Leader Benedict Rogers, said: “The Kachin people have a ceasefire with the regime, but the peace dividend is severely limited.

"An end to widespread killing and mass displacement is welcome, but it comes at the cost of a climate of intense restriction, discrimination, and crimes committed with impunity by military personnel.

"Similarly, the Chin people face constant religious and ethnic discrimination and severe abuse. Worst of all, these two ethnic groups feel particularly forgotten by the international community.

"It is time that their voices were heard, and that the international community responded to the political, social, humanitarian and environmental disaster in northern and western Burma.”

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