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PHR Applauds Secretary Clinton for Addressing Ongoing Human Rights Violations in Burma

Urges US Administration to closely monitor the situation in Kachin State and ethnic areas of Burma

December 2011

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. PHR’s report, Under Siege in Kachin State, Burma, detailed attacks by the Burmese military on civilians, including looting food, firing indiscriminately into villages, and forcing civilians to serve as porters and human minesweepers. Earlier this week, PHR called on Secretary Clinton to discuss these and other crimes during her historic trip to Burma.

In her initial reports, Secretary Clinton has expressed concern about violence against ethnic groups, the ongoing imprisonment of political dissidents, and Burma’s ties to North Korea. She also called for greater access for humanitarian aid groups in areas of conflict -one of PHR’s key recommendations to the Government of Burma. Secretary Clinton noted that preliminary gestures of openness on the part of the leaders of Burma will not automatically translate into a lifting of sanctions.

While PHR welcomes initial changes in Burma, the US and others in the international community must not lose sight of the ongoing abuses in rural Burma. Incremental changes that do not reach ethnic minority communities are not signs of sustainable progress. PHR applauds Secretary Clinton for addressing ongoing human rights violations in Burma, and urges the US Administration to continue to closely monitor the situation in Kachin State and other ethnic areas of Burma.

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