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Burmese Civilians Flee amid Fears of Attack by Army

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By Charles Boyd, Christian Today Reporter
June 6, 2009|12:10 pm

More than 1,000 people have fled from a camp for internally displaced people in Burma’s Karen State amid fears of an attack by the Burmese Army.

Human rights group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said it had received reports indicating an attack on the IDP camp at Ler Per Her by Burmese Army infantry and the pro-regime militia group, the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army.

CSW’s Advocacy director, Alexa Papadouris, said Burma Army troops could attack within hours.

“This is an urgent situation which requires immediate international attention,” she said.

The camp has been forced twice before to relocate as a result of attacks. The latest threat has prompted the camp’s 1,200 IDPs to flee across the border to Thailand.

During previous visits to the camp, including one earlier this year, CSW heard first-hand accounts from IDPs of forced labor, rape, torture, the destruction of villages, crops and livestock, and the use of human minesweepers at the hands of the military regime.

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Papadouris said people in Karen State had been suffering attacks and gross violations of human rights “amounting to crimes against humanity” for several decades.

Armed military often brutally attack villages of the Karen, Karenni, and Chin people – who are predominantly Christians – and are known to systematically rape the women.

In the latest attack, a Christian-run orphanage in Burma near the border with Thailand was attacked by the Burmese army on Friday.

Burma, also known as Myanmar, is listed under the list of “countries of particular concern” by the U.S. State Department for egregious and systematic violations of religious freedom.

Papadouris urged the international community to bring an end to the crisis in eastern Burma.

“We call on the U.N. Security Council to impose a universal arms embargo on Burma’s military regime, and to establish a commission of inquiry into crimes against humanity,” she said.

“We urge the authorities in Thailand to provide shelter and protection to the Karen from Ler Per Her, and we urge members of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), China and India to use their collective influence with the regime to call a halt to such offensives against civilians.”

 

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