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Library The Burden of War - Women bear burden of displacement

The Burden of War - Women bear burden of displacement

The Burden of War - Women bear burden of displacement

Resource information

Date of publication
November 2012
Resource Language
ISBN / Resource ID

Executive Summary:
"Worsening conflict and abuses by Burmese government troops in
northern Shan State have displaced over 2,000 Palaung villagers from
fifteen villages in three townships since March 2011. About 1,000,
mainly women and children, remain in three IDP settlements in Mantong
and Namkham townships, facing serious shortages of food and medicine;
most of the rest have dispersed to find work in China.
Burmese troops have been launching offensives to crush the Kachin
Independence Army (KIA), the Ta-ang National Liberation Army (TNLA),
and the Shan State Army-North (SSA-N), to secure control of strategic
trading and investment areas on the Chinese border, particularly the route
of China’s trans-Burma oil and gas pipelines. In rural Palaung areas,
patrols from sixteen Burma Army battalions and local militia have been
forcibly conscripting villagers as soldiers and porters, looting livestock
and property, and torturing and killing villagers suspected of supporting
the resistance. This has caused entire villages to become abandoned.
Interviews conducted by PWO in September 2012 show that the burden
of displacement is falling largely on women, as most men have fled or
migrated to work elsewhere. The ratio of women to men of working age
in the IDP camps is 4:1. Women, including pregnant mothers, had to
walk for up to a week through the jungle to reach the camps, carrying
their children and possessions, and avoiding Burmese army patrols and
landmines. Elderly people were left behind.
Little aid has reached the IDP settlements, particular the largest camp
housing over 500 in a remote mountainous area north of Manton, where
shortages of water, food and medicines are causing widespread disease.
Mothers are struggling to feed their families on loans of rice from local
villagers, and have taken their daughters out of school. Some women
have left children with relatives and gone to find work in China.
PWO is calling urgently for aid to these IDPs, and for political pressure
on Burma’s government to end its military offensives and abuses, pull
back troops from conflict areas, and begin meaningful political dialogue
to address the root causes of the conflict.

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