Hundreds killed in Burma protests as forced labour and rape continues in ethnic areas, claims new CSW report

by Charles Cherry

This is a section from the most recent CSW report on Burma:

CSW met representatives of several Kachin organisations, based in Thailand. This follows two visits made by CSW to the Kachin on the China-Burma border. According to these Kachin groups, the SPDC is pursuing a policy of slow, systematic genocide. The Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) has had a ceasefire with the SPDC since 1994. As a result, the Kachin are not experiencing the same extensive, overt violence from the Burma Army as the Karen, Karenni and Shan, in terms of the destruction of villages and mass displacement of civilians. However, the SPDC continues to oppress the Kachin, through the widespread use of forced labor, forced relocation, rape and religious persecution, and through more subtle, covert and indirect means. For example, due to the regime’s lack of investment in education and economic opportunities, and the deliberate distribution of narcotics, thousands of young Kachin have become addicted to drugs. Since 1997, according to Kachin sources based on research from international NGOs, over 100,000 young Kachins have died from HIV/AIDS and drug-related causes.

Poverty and economic deprivation in Kachin State is widespread. People in Kachin State live on an average income of 1,500 kyats ($1) a day. According to Kachin sources, basic food supplies and household goods are virtually unaffordable. For example:

  • A kilo of rice (in 8 condensed milk cans) costs over 1,000 kyats
  • One egg costs 100 kyats;
  • One pineapple costs 300 kyats;
  • A bunch of bananas costs 600 kyats;
  • 1.6kg (a “viss”) of pork costs 6,000 kyats;
  • 1.6lg (a “viss”) of chicken costs 3,000-4,000 kyats;
  • A longyi costs 2,000 kyats;
  • A plain blouse costs 3,000 kyats;

In other words – the government is making it nearly impossible to live in Myanmar, unless you are one of the favored few who are 1) Burmese; 2) Bhuddists; 3) have an “insider” connection to the military / government.

Read the whole report here:

CSW visit to the Thailand-Burma Border