Myanmar: Ethnic minorities face range of violations including war crimes in northern...

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Publish Date : 06/14/2017 13:46
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Civilians from minority ethnic groups suffer appalling violations and abuses, including war crimes, at the hands of Myanmar’s military and ethnic armed groups in the country’s Kachin and northern Shan States, Amnesty International said today in a new report based on three recent trips to the conflict area.

“Almost 100,000 people have been torn away from their homes and farms due to conflict and human rights violations in northern Myanmar. All sides must protect civilians amid the conflict and the Myanmar authorities need to immediately end the humanitarian access restrictions that have further harmed this already-vulnerable population,” said Matthew Wells, Senior Crisis Advisor at Amnesty International.

“The international community is familiar with the appalling abuses suffered by the Rohingya minority in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, but in Kachin and northern Shan States we found a similarly shocking pattern in the Army’s targeting of other ethnic minorities.”

Amnesty International conducted more than 140 interviews on the ground between March and May 2017, following renewed fighting since August 2016 in Kachin and northern Shan states, which border China. The organization visited towns and villages in areas affected by fighting as well as 10 camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs), and spoke to civilian victims and eyewitnesses, community leaders and humanitarian officials.

More than 98,000 civilians are currently displaced in northern Myanmar amid fierce fighting between the Myanmar Armed Forces and various ethnic armed groups in the area. Myanmar’s government has exacerbated the difficulties for many displaced persons by restricting humanitarian access to certain affected areas, particularly those controlled by armed groups. Humanitarian officials said this undermined their ability to respond quickly to emergency situations and to provide necessary humanitarian assistance like shelter, access to water, and sanitation.

Since fighting escalated in November 2016, the Myanmar Army has committed egregious violations against civilians, sometimes amounting to war crimes, which continued through Amnesty International’s final research mission in May 2017. The report documents how the Myanmar Army has repeatedly violated international humanitarian law by failing to distinguish between civilian and military targets when firing mortar shells.

“For decades, the Myanmar Army has acted with near total impunity. This must change urgently, with those responsible for atrocities brought to book. The Myanmar government must also ensure unfettered access to the UN-established independent, international fact-finding mission,” said Matthew Wells.




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“ Myanmar: Ethnic minorities face range of violations including war crimes in northern conflict ”