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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2528

Crisis in Karen State, Burma, continues to escalate as thousands more face attacks

London, 20 May, (Asiantribune.com): The Burma Army is continuing its attacks on civilians in Toungoo District, Karen State, Burma, as it appears poised to unleash a fresh offensive against civilians in Papun District. Tens of thousands more could be displaced.

The total number of Karen people displaced in Western, Northern and North-western Karen State is now over 16,000, according to the Free Burma Rangers.

The Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) reports that at least 27 Burma Army battalions are now poised to destroy hundreds of villages in the Papun hills. This, the KHRG claim, would “doubtless lead to the forced displacements of tens of thousands more.”

In a recent report, the KHRG emphasised that the current offensive, the worst since 1997, is not simply counter-insurgency.

“Please note that this is not an offensive against Karen resistance forces, and there has been very little combat,” the group states.

“These are attacks against undefended villages with the objective of flushing villagers out of the hills to bring them under direct military control so they can be used to support the Burma Army with food and forced labour.”

A Karen National Union (KNU) district leader told the Free Burma Rangers: “The dictators want to destroy the Karen people … This is the main reason for their offensive.”

Christian Solidarity Worldwide’s (CSW)National Director, Stuart Windsor, said: “This is attempted genocide unfolding before our very eyes. The scale of the attacks and the brutality of the atrocities are extremely difficult to believe. Yet this has been going on, in one form or another, for half a century. The United Nations Security Council needs to address the issue of Burma immediately, and we will be doing all we can to help make that happen.”

CSW is a human rights organisation which specialises in religious freedom, works on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs and promotes religious liberty for all.

- Asian Tribune -

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