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Library An Unseen Crisis

An Unseen Crisis

An Unseen Crisis

Resource information

Date of publication
February 2014
Resource Language
ISBN / Resource ID

"Increased troop deployment, attacks and abuses by the Burma Army in northern
Shan State during the past year have caused large-scale new displacement of Palaung
villagers, calling into question the Burmese government’s claims to be seeking a
peaceful settlement to the ethnic conflict.
The number of Burmese government troops in
Palaung areas of northern Shan State
has doubled from 16 to over 30 battalions during 2013. Attacks and abuses by these
troops have caused the fresh displacement of
over 3,000 mostly
Palaung villagers in
the past year, who are now sheltering in four new camps in Namtu, Tangyan and
Kutkhai townships. This is a fourfold in
crease since late 2012, when PWO documented about 1,000 IDPs sheltering in three camps in Namkham and Manton town-
The military build-up is clearly linked to the government’s attempts to secure its
large-scale investment projects in the area, including the Shwe oil and gas pipelines,
which started sending gas to China in June 2013. Offensives have been ongoing
against local ethnic resistance groups, in
cluding the Shan State Army North (SSA-N), the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA). Burma Army shelling of villages, burning of homes and property,
forced portering, torture and sexual violence have caused new displacement of over
20 villages during the past year.
The offensives have
continued despite ongoing ceasefire negotiations between the
Burmese government and the ethnic armed
groups. The TNLA met with the Myanmar Peace Center, led by U Aung Min on July 31, 2013, in Muse, northern Shan
State, but the Burma Army launched new attacks against TNLA in Kutkhai and Kyaukmae only eleven days afterwards.
There is insufficient humanitarian aid reaching the IDP camps. Aid agencies provided basic assistance to IDPs in Kutkhai an
d Tangyan when they first fled, but since
then there has been no regular support of
rice or other food. The IDPs are forced to
find work as daily labourers to feed their families, but there is little work available.
Shortages of food have exacerbated health
problems in the camps, but there has been
almost no medical aid...

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