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CSW (01/05/06) – The Burma Army has displaced more than 1,200 people in attacks against villages and hiding places of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Southern Karenni State.

Troops from Burma Army battalions 421, 426, 428, and 424 carried out their attacks against villagers in Southern Karenni State on December 23.

The soldiers burned down 26 houses in Gee Gaw Ber village, forcing all 610 residents of the village into hiding. A further 341 people from the nearby village of Toe Ka Htoo fled in fear of further Burma Army attacks. 255 people from Pah Poe (Papo) village, which was attacked on December 17, are also in hiding.

Those newly displaced are now in hiding without shelter and the temperatures in the area are very low. Those who have fled are hiding at heights between 3,500-6,500 feet and the freezing level is between 4,000-5,000 feet.

The people of this area of Southern Karenni State have been under constant attack since December 2002 when over 2,000 Karenni and 3,000 Karen were attacked by ten battalions of the Burma Army. The Karen from villages near the Karenni border were also attacked by the Burma Army.

The stated purpose of the Burma Army in the area is to clear all villagers out of the Karenni-Karen border areas and force them into relocation areas under Burma Army control.

There are estimated to be about one million IDPs in Burma as the military regime continues to wage a ‘slow genocide’ against the ethnic groups.

CSW calls on the UN Security Council to take action on behalf of the people of Burma . CSW was however encouraged by the briefing the UN Security Council received on the deteriorating situation in Burma by the UN Secretariat on December 16.

Ibrahim Gambari, Under Secretary General for Political Affairs, gave a 25 minute briefing which focused on reports of human rights abuses, the detention of political prisoners, including opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and Burma ‘s refusal to grant access to the UN special envoy.

Alexa Papadouris, CSW’s Advocacy Director, said: “The ongoing attacks against villagers and IDPs in Karenni state highlight the urgent necessity of UN Security Council intervention. While the world stands by, thousands of people every year are losing their lives in Burma and hundreds of thousands are being forcibly displaced as part of a deliberate strategy to destroy their ethnic group. CSW will continue to advocate for concerted international efforts to promote peace and universal respect for human rights in Burma .”