Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a human rights organization, recently returned from a three-week visit to South-East Asia with fresh evidence of human rights violations in Burma.
CSW visited the Kachin ethnic group in northern Burma with the Free Burma Rangers, and made a separate visit to Chin refugees in Malaysia.
A CSW representative heard first-hand testimonies of rape, religious discrimination and land confiscation in Kachin State, and met a Chin pastor, now in Malaysia, who had been forced by Burma’s military regime to deliver a speech at a public rally denouncing human rights campaigners and claiming to enjoy complete religious freedom.
In a detailed report, released on Friday, CSW cited the testimony of a 21-year-old Bible school student who was raped and strangled by two Burma Army soldiers.
After describing her ordeal, the student informed the human rights group that she heard one of the soldiers had raped many girls and was never brought to justice.
“Every woman should be careful. My experience is an example for other girls … I want justice to be done," she said.
CSW’s East Asia team leader, Benedict Rogers, stated, “The Kachin people have a ceasefire with the regime, but the peace dividend is severely limited."
"An end to widespread killing and mass displacement is welcome, but it comes at the cost of a climate of intense restriction, discrimination, and crimes committed with impunity by military personnel," he added.
Rogers further noted the constant religious and ethnic discrimination and "severe abuse" the Chin people face.
"Worst of all, these two ethnic groups feel particularly forgotten by the international community," he said. "It is time that their voices were heard, and that the international community responded to the political, social, humanitarian and environmental disaster in northern and western Burma.”