Ethnic minorities suffer rights abuses in Myanmar’s north

Myanmar army has “committed egregious violations against civilians, sometimes amounting to war crimes”.

Myanmar’s military has committed appalling rights violations against ethnic minorities in Kachin and northern Shan says human rights group Amnesty International (AI).

The Myanmar army has committed egregious violations against civilians, sometimes amounting to war crimes, says the London-based rights group in a report released June 14. As part of that, the report detailed a massacre of 18 young men from a village allegedly committed by government forces.

“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,” said Matthew Wells, senior crisis response advisor at AI.

In both Kachin and northern Shan states, civilians are being subjected to rights abuses such as torture and extrajudicial executions, says Amnesty. The report details how civilian villages have been indiscriminately shelled by government forces and how civilians have had punitive restrictions placed upon their movement.

In Shan State, in particular, Myanmar’s military is failing to distinguish between civilians and combatants, said the report.

Ethnic armed groups

The Myanmar military is fighting various ethnic armed groups in the area, including the Kachin Independence Army, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, the Arakan Army, and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army.

Amnesty said that some ethnic armed groups at times abduct civilians seen to support an opposing party, forcibly recruit men, women, and children into their fighting forces and impose “taxes” on impoverished villagers trapped in the conflict.

Humanitarian access has also been denied to civilians affected by the conflict.


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