Crimes Against Humanity in Burma
In 2010, Physicians for Human Rights investigated alleged human rights violations against the people of Chin State. Our research revealed extraordinary levels of state and military violence against civilian populations. The 2011 report, Life Under the Junta: Evidence of Crimes Against Humanity in Burma’s Chin State, provides the first quantitative data of these human rights violations. Our report also reveals that at least eight of the violations surveyed fall within the purview of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Our research revealed widespread reports of human rights violations among 621 randomly selected Chin households during the 12 months prior to interviews. The abuses included forced labor, religious persecution, beatings, killing, disappearances, torture, rape and widespread pillaging.
In September 2011, PHR also conducted an investigation in Burma’s Kachin State in response to reports of grave human rights violations in the region. PHR found that between June and September 2011, the Burmese army looted food from civilians, fired indiscriminately into villages, threatened villages with attacks, and used civilians as porters and human minesweepers. Our report, Under Siege in Kachin State, Burma, details these findings and the status of Kachin IDP camps.
Massacre in Burma: PHR Calls for Immediate Investigation (May 20, 2013)
PHR today released a report detailing the organized attacks against Muslims that took place in central Burma in late March and resulted in the killing of at least 20 children and four teachers. The report provides evidence that state authorities, who idly stood by watching the events unfold, are complicit in these crimes.
PHR calls on Burma’s government to act urgently to halt anti-Muslim incitement and to invite international investigators to launch an immediate independent investigation into a reported massacre of more than two dozen Muslim students in Meiktila on March 21.
Indian aid raises concerns in Chin State (Mizzima.com, February 28, 2013)
Concerns have been raised over financial aid provided by the Indian government for development as it will be channeled through the Ministry for Border Affairs. ... However, Andrea Gittleman, the senior legislative counsel for Washington-based Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), told Mizzima that apart from the physical problems, one of the underlying issues that needed to be addressed in Chin State is the mental health of a populace reeling from decades of abuse under military occupation.
Will Burma bring back human rights in Chin State? (Asian Correspondence.com, December 11, 2012)
The Union level Peacemaking Committee and the Chin National Front met on Monday to discuss an agreement covering national integration, human rights and environmental conservation, military affairs, development of Chin State, and cooperation of the Union government. Earlier this year, Physicians for Human Rights announced findings from the first population-based survey to file human rights violations in all nine townships of Chin State.
A Dark Day for Human Rights in Burma (April 25, 2013)
On April 22, the European Union lifted all sanctions against the Burmese government except for an arms embargo. The international community’s rush to applaud the Burmese government’s nascent reforms will ultimately hamper further improvements.
Government of Bangladesh Blocking Humanitarian Aid for Rohingya (August 3, 2012)
Thai and Burmese press have reported that the Government of Bangladesh is cracking down on charitable organizations that offer assistance to Rohingya, an ethnic group that has faced endemic persecution and violence in Burma.
PHR Demands that Government of Burma Rescind Citizenship Law (July 10, 2012)
The 1982 law authorized 135 enumerated ethnic groups for citizenship, and arbitrarily stripped others of their citizenship. NGOs call for the Citizenship Law to be replaced with a law that reflects basic principles of human rights and demonstrates adherence to international treaties.
Donor countries, including the United States, have supported organizations that provide essential humanitarian services to people along Burma’s borders. Border areas have long been neglected by medical and development programs run by the Burmese government, and this international assistance has helped countless people access medical care and food. Some political reforms have increased opportunities for international donors to directly fund civil society groups within Burma.
Massacre in Central Burma (May 2013)
Anti-Muslim violence swept through central Burma in spring 2013, reportedly sparked by an argument at a gold shop and the killing of a Buddhist monk in Meiktila, Mandalay. Homes, mosques, and madrassas were destroyed, and over 100 people lost their lives. This report is the result of an investigation by a PHR team, undertaken shortly after the violence occurred.
President Obama is choosing an odd time to make history as the first US president to visit Burma. Ethnic violence continues to devastate Rakhine State in western Burma, conflict rages in northern Kachin State, and military officials responsible for some of the worst violence in the country continue to thrive in a climate of impunity.
PHR Urges US to Consider Ramifications of Inviting Burmese Military to Training Exercise (October 2012)
PHR is deeply troubled by media reports that members of Burma’s military could be invited to observe an upcoming US-Thai military joint training exercise. The exercise, to be held next year, would bring together participants from the US and the Thai armed forces as well as military representatives from several other Asian nations.
Bitter Wounds and Lost Dreams (August 2012)
Even as Burma’s central government institutes political reforms, the Burmese army continues to routinely violate the human rights of ethnic minorities in Karen State, PHR reports, citing findings from a field survey conducted in early 2012.
Richard Sollom leads human rights investigations to document and expose grave emergency and emerging human rights situations globally. He oversees the design and safe and ethical conduct of PHR’s research work related to the investigation and documentation of war crimes and mass atrocities. Sollom also oversees research, investigations and advocacy on violations of medical neutrality and the systematic discrimination in the delivery or access to health care. Read More »