Karen Women’s Organisation condemns Burmese Army Attacks on Kachin Villagers

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This past Tuesday, 22 October, the Burmese Army brutally attacked 2 villages in Southern Kachin State.  This is in direct violation of the agreement signed by the Government and the Kachin National Organisation just 12 days previously.  The attack was launched by 7 Burmese army battalions.  These attacks affected several camps where approximately 2400 Internally Displaced People (IDP’S) have been living and are now threatened yet again.

“Local witnesses stated that 60mm heavy artillery shells landed near the school in the IDP camp. Burmese soldiers looted IDPs’ belongings and arrested eight villagers from Kong Ja Village and two from Mung Ding Pa village, including a child aged about 12. These inhumane actions forced many of the refugees to flee for their lives. Some elderly and infirm people and children and have taken refuge in the Mung Ding Pa village church.” (Kachin National Organisation, press release 23 October 2013)

The Karen Women’s Organisation strongly condemns this attack on innocent people and the looting of supplies and belongings of those who have the least in our community. There have been reports of rape and other human rights violations.  Women have always suffered as victims of war and this terrible attack is yet another instance of the abuse the women of Burma have suffered at the hands of the military.

The International community should intervene to stop this and other human rights violations by the Burmese army and its government. We question the Burmese commitment to true peace when these actions are allowed to occur. We, like all ethnic peoples of Burma, stand with the Kachin people against these violations of all our rights.

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About Karen Women Organisation

The Karen Women Organisation was formed in 1949 and has a membership of over 64,100 women. KWO is a community-based organisation of Karen women working in development and relief in the refugee camps on the Thai border and with IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) and women inside Burma. Since our formation in 1949 we have expanded our focus from one of purely social welfare to try to encourage an awareness of Women's Rights and to promote women’s participation in the community decision making and political processes. The objectives of the KWO  To assist women in the endeavour to be free from all forms of oppression.  To promote and empower women in all spheres of life, including education and general living standards.  To encourage women to participate in the struggle for freedom, democracy and equality.  To develop women's knowledge, ability and skills, including political and organizational skills.  To achieve the rights of women and equal status with men.  To promote and maintain Karen culture and traditions.  To improve the well-being of women and children and to increase their access to adequate health, education and welfare services. KWO aims to empower women through offering various capacity building trainings to teach skills, build confidence and create new opportunities so that women will be better able to solve problems. We are working hard to educate ourselves and our communities so that we can work more effectively and advocate for our struggle on the international stage. We believe that women’s contribution is an essential factor in the peace-building and national reconciliation processes of Burma.