Junta’s Military Council Guilty of War Crimes and Extra-judicial Killings in Kachin and Shan States: KWAT Says

A Kachin group documented violence committed by the junta’s State Administration Council (SAC) against civilian populations of rural Kachin and Shan states and urban centers since the military staged a coup in Burma over two months ago.

In its recent report ‘Amid Deadly Crackdowns On Urban Protests, Regime’s Troops Commit Fresh War Crimes In Northern Burma’, Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand (KWAT) reports on Burma Army’s war crimes in rural conflict zones and its human rights abuses against protesters in towns like Myitikyina.

“Burma Army not only commits human rights abuses while cracking down on peaceful protests in urban areas but it’s also happening in rural areas affected by conflict,” San Htoi, KWAT spokesperson, told KNG.

Since February 1, when the military staged its coup, armed forces shot and killed at least ten people and arrested over four-hundred in Kachin State. Nearly half were released, while the rest are in prison in Myitikyina. Many are charged with violating Article 505/a or 505/b of Burma’s Penal Code, or the Natural Disaster Management Law.

A lawyer defending the accused told KNG that authorities prevented them from consulting with their client. “We are only allowed to see our client during the court hearing,” the lawyer said. Parents and relatives of the accused also aren’t permitted to visit them in jail.

After killing 2 people, during a demonstration in Myitkyina on March 8, armed forces arrested 98 youths, according to KWAT’s report. Authorities released 19 who are minors, prosecuting the rest.

The report found that Burma Army attacked Kachin Independence Army (KIA) Brigade 6 in northern Shan State on February 11, two days after the armed organization’s political wing, Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), told SAC not to harm protesters. Burma Army LID-99 and LID-33 attacked villages in the state with heavy weapons and used human shields during fighting, as well as committing extra-judicial killings. After KIA attacked its camps in Kachin State the military also shelled villages.

KWAT asked the international community to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians affected by the conflict in Kachin and Shan states.

“It’s time to stop working with the military regime,” San Htoi told KNG, referring to international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) based inside the country that are still paying taxes to the government. “We want INGOs to provide humanitarian assistance in the border areas,” she told KNG, including helping refugees who fled to China.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) advocacy group, SAC killed 564 people in Burma since the military took over. Authorities arrested at least fifty-eight journalists, according to Detained Journalists Myanmar. There are still twenty-seven detained in Burma, including two reporters from Kachin State. Most are charged for violating Article 505/a.

On March 31, the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) dissolved the 2008 Constitution, enacted by the previous military regime. CRPH was established by lawmakers ousted by the military regime on February 1.

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