Villagers in areas controlled by the Karen National Union in Thaton District reported that human rights violations by the Burmese army and its militias have escalated in recent months.
In early September 2021, villagers in Thaton district reported that while mobile phone networks were shut down, the Burmese army and its militias, the Border Guard Force (BGF) stepped up their attacks.
Saw Kay *, a community leader, said that as soon as mobile networks were blocked on September 16, the Burmese army and BGF soldiers subjected the villagers to a campaign of terror.
âThe MPT, Telenor and Mytel mobile networks were cutâ¦ when the communication networks were cut, we could no longer communicate with each other. [Burma Army] Violations occurred almost every day. BGF troops in Lay Kay village demanded bamboo and woodâ¦ ordering villagers to collect bamboo and wood. It was not the first time they were asking and there is no payment for doing so. In the village of Lay Kay, the villagers were ordered to cut down coconut trees and take them to the military camp to build bankers. Saw Kay * said.
On September 20, 2021, the Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) reported that BGF soldiers ordered 300 villagers from Htee Hpah Doh Hta and Yoh Klah villages in Doo Tha Htoo district to transport rations and ammunition to the camp. military man of Lay Kay Burma.
The majority of porters captured were women but also included the elderly, and even sick people – 12 porters were under 18 – nine girls and three boys.
According to the villagers, the BGF troops not only forced the villagers to work, but in some areas they were ordered and were forced to appoint and appoint a village chief. A position that the villagers are now afraid to adopt since the military coup of February 1.
Village chiefs appointed by the army have become the target of assassinations by opposition groups in many parts of the country. The army forced villagers against their will to work as chiefs on a 15-30 day rotation.
A villager who witnessed the situation told Karen News that he could not refuse because he feared for his safety.
âWe cannot say no to their orders because they have weapons, we have no choice but to obey what they command. We live in fear day, night and every day. In my village, the villagers are forced to work as a chief for a month. In my village, three joint village chiefs work for a month. They were afraid to work alone, so they work together to support each other. It is better to have a companion because they were afraid to go there alone during the summons of the Burmese army and the BGF. There is no longer a long-term village administrator, only these monthly rotating chiefs. Many village administrators have resigned because they are afraid.
Saw Kay * said that in addition to [daily] human rights violations, the Burmese army and BGF troops indiscriminately fired artillery shells at villages.
âTheir bombardment resulted in the death and injury of livestock and the destruction of the houses of the villagersâ¦. heavy weapons, drop and explode in villages hitting houses causing extensive damage.
Saw Nanda Hsu; Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) spokeswoman told Karen News that the Burmese military and its malicious acts are all serious human rights violations.
âIf the army has launched heavy artillery into the village, it violates the right of the local villagers to live in peace. And when it comes to using people as human shields, this is a serious human rights violation. Everyone has the right to live freely and without fear. The use of people as human shields is lethal at all times, which is serious abuse and a violation of [their] human rights. âVu Nanda Hsu said.
Community human rights groups have reported that in Karen State and other ethnic areas, human rights violations occur on a daily basis. Since the military coup, security forces have now terrorized civilians in urban areas.
Due to the increase in armed conflicts nationwide, the United Nations estimates that more than 200,000 civilians have been displaced, creating an urgent need for emergency humanitarian assistance – shelter, food, medicine and security.
* Names have been changed for security reasons.