PHR welcomes the Government of Burma’s release of political prisoners. On Thursday more than 650 prisoners were released, including high-profile prisoners such as pro-democracy leaders Min Ko Naing and Ko Ko Gyi and Saffron Revolution leader U Gambira, according to estimates from PHR’s partner organizations. Releasing hundreds of political prisoner is a significant step forward for Burma, whose leaders have for decades responded to political activism with harsh prison sentences.
Following the release of Physicians for Human Rights’ (PHR) report documenting human rights violations and humanitarian needs in Kachin State, northern Burma, PHR applauds Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for expressing concern about violence against ethnic groups in Burma.
In September 2011, PHR 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.
In 2010, Physicians for Human Rights investigated alleged human rights violations in Burma’s Chin State. Our report reveals extraordinary levels of state and military violence against civilian populations.