Karen rights group reports violations despite ceasefire

The Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) has released a report on May 13 documenting ongoing human rights abuses in Southeastern Myanmar despite ceasefires between ethnic armed groups and the army.
The report titled ‘Truce or Transition’ shows that incidents of attacks on civilians, arbitrary arrest and forced labour continue, as well as highlighting new forms of abuse linked to land grabbing and drug trafficking.
“Although the overall situation has improved since the ceasefire in 2012, villagers are still facing attacks. Our documentation also shows that land-grabbing and the widespread use of drugs have become major problems for villagers,” said Saw Albert, KHRG’s field director.
He added that ongoing militarisation by the Myanmar army during the ceasefire period, as well as forced recruitment and extortion by the affiliated Border Guard Force, has led to a growing mistrust by villagers who want to see a durable peace.
Arbitrary taxation is also a common practice by the army and most ethnic armed groups, which poses additional threats to villagers living in areas of contested authority.
However, there has been positive results too since overall fighting stopped in the region as many villagers can now travel freely compared to before the ceasefire.
“Overall villagers have become less fearful, and more confident. But it is not enough that the situation is better than before. Substantial challenges remain and addressing them will require the attention of local, national and international actors,” said Naw Khu Khu Ju, KHRG’s advocacy coordinator.
KHRG is a local community-based organisation engaged in researching and documenting human rights abuses in Southeastern Myanmar. Founded in 1992, they have been promoting the perspectives of rural villagers as well as empowering local communities.
SOURCE www.elevenmyanmar.com