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Violations And Humanitarian Crisis Continues in Eastern Burma According To New Report

11/09/2011 Burma (CSW) - Serious violations of human rights continue to be committed by the Burma Army in eastern Burma, while humanitarian conditions deteriorate due to a lack of international funding, according to a new report released today by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).

Last month CSW conducted another fact-finding visit to the Thailand-Burma border, visiting Karen refugees in camps on the Thai side of the border as well as internally displaced people (IDPs) across the border in Karen State. CSW also had meetings with former political prisoners, exiled activists, representatives of the democracy movement, Non-Governmental Organisations and diplomats.

CSW interviewed several recently arrived refugees, who had fled fighting between the Burma Army and ethnic armed groups. One Karen IDP told CSW: “Whenever the Burma Army comes, they burn villages or shoot people. So whenever the Burma Army comes we run away because we know what will happen if we don’t.” Reports of forced labour, looting, extortion and torture remain widespread. One IDP said: “We feel very tired in our hearts and minds. We cannot think about what we’re going to do. We’re very tired.”

Conditions in the IDP camp are particularly severe, due to cuts in international support for humanitarian assistance along the border. The IDPs now receive only rice and salt, and the rations have been reduced significantly. They have received no new clothing, blankets or mosquito nets since 2008, and at least ten children under the age of five are suffering malnutrition. People are relying on foraging for bamboo shoots, raw leaves and roots in the forest.

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