Burma’s Ethnic News in Brief: Their Sufferings Continue
21 April 2011: Despite claims of political reforms, the ‘new’ Burmese regime is still committing widespread and systematic violations of human rights and persecution against civilians in ethnic areas.
Two Christian Crosses Pressured for Relocation
Burma’s new government has forcibly demanded relocations of two Christian crossess on Udang Bum mountain, jointly erected by Kachin Baptists and Roman Catholics in Kachin State following the ongoing dam projects by China Power Investment Corporation (CPI) and Burmese Asia World Company (AWC).
The pressure has been mounting with a subsequent dispute among the Kachin Christian leaders as some are in favour of relocations while others are rejecting the order by Burmese authorities, according to the Kachin news. Hundreds of locals from 47 villages along the dam site have been forced to relocate.
War Likely to Break out in Kachin State
Burma’s military authorities have made up its mind to wage war against Kachin Independence Army, an armed wing of Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) following Junta’s decision last week where the KIO was named ‘Government’s main domestic enemy’, according to a leaked source as quoted by Kachin News.
However, no preparatory movements by Burma Army have been up to date seen in the areas close to the territories occupied by the KIO in Kachin and Shan States. The KIO sources said that a public announcement has not been either made by the new Burmese government.
Eight Locals Killed in Attacks by Burma Army
A total of eight locals have been killed in the attacks launched by Burma Army during three months from January to March this year, according to a report on human rights violations by the Karen National Union (KNU).
The Karen Information Center (KIC) said that an increasing number of Karen locals have suffered from Junta’s various repressive measures such as forced labour and mine-sweeping as Burma Army troops move further inside the KNU-controlled areas including Toungoo, Nyaunglebin, Papun, Dooplaya, and Pa’an Districts.
Authorities Collect Names for Military Training
Troops of Burma Army Light Infrantry Battalion (LIB) No. 428 has since March started collecting the lists of young men and women over the age of 18 in Prusoe Township to take ‘forcible’ military training under the new conscription law.
Burma Army LIB No. 578 confiscated lands from local villagers in Lawjar, Daw Lawkhu and Markrawshe of Prusoe Township to build two military training grounds, according to Kantarawaddy Times. It is reported that villagers in remote areas of Karenni State are targetted for the conscription.
Mon Language and Culture Taught During Summer Breaks
The Mon Literature and Culture Committee (MLCC) has opened summer schools throughout Mon State in March, teaching children how to read and write in Mon language.
“We have a big problem with teaching spaces. We have got to teach children under banyan trees and in Mon Buddhist monasteries,” said Min Soe Lin, a member of MLCC. The programme has been in operations for a while as Burma’s military authorities do not allow the teaching of Mon curriculum at schools, according to the Independent Mon News Agency.
IDPs in Trouble As Authorities Banned Relief Aid
About 2,500 IDPs (Internally Displaced People) from five villages in Tavoy Resettlement Site are subsisting on ‘rice gruel’ after Burma Army banned rice transportation to Tavoy District in Tenasserim Division by Mon Relief and Development Committee (MRDC) early this month.
The current ban on the flows of relief aid was imposed as a punishment to the civilians after the New Mon State Party (NMSP) refused to join Border Guard Force (BGF), according to Mon News.
Locals Killed in War-zone Tangyan Township
An increasing number of deaths by unidentified killers have been reported in Shan State since Burma Army has launched offensive attacks against Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) in early March 2011.
A local school teacher was last week killed and two more wounded in Tangyang Township, one of the battlefields while 10 villagers in Monghsu and Tangyan Townships were killed by unknown culprits, according to Shan Herald.
Many residents believed it was a setup of Burma Army in an attempt to create misunderstanding among the Shan locals and communities.
Thousands of Cyclone Giri-hit Victims Still Left Homeless
Grave concerns have mounted over two-third of Cyclone Giri-hit families who are still in dire need of proper accommodation and foods as the rainy reason is starting soon. Most of the ‘homeless’ families are in Mray Bon Township, the area worst affected by the deadly cyclone last year.
The October Cyclone Giri affected an estimated 260,000 people, destroyed 20,830 and damaged another 31,114 homes in Kyaukpru, Mray Bon, Minbya and Pauktaw townships of Rakhine State, according to official figures.
More Rohingyas Forced Back to Burma
A total of 23 Rohingyas have been sent back to Burma by the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) in April 2011 alone, with the first expulsion taking place on 11 April and the second on 17, according to Kaladan Press Network.
It is said that the Rohingyas, mostly from Sittwe, who reportedly crossed the Burma-Bangladesh border by boat in search of work, were forced back to the military-ruled country after being arrested and interrogated by the Bangladeshi authorities.
Van Biak Thang