Civilians beaten, shot by govt troops in Lashio: SHRF

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Three villagers were badly beaten while another was shot by Burmese government troops during recent military maneuvers in Lashio Township, according to local watchdog Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF).

Photo SHRF: three victim villagers who were beaten by Burmese army.
Photo SHRF: three victim villagers who were beaten by Burmese army.

In its report on December 6, SHRF said the first incident occurred at about 8am on November 13, when a Burmese army unit, Light Infantry Battalion 119, stopped over in the village of Wan Koong Pao, Ei Nai tract, in the Mong Yen area of Lashio district.

Three villagers ­– identified as Lung Hla Win, aged 64, Sai Nyunt, 25, and Sai Tun, 16 – were accused of trying to pass information to Shan rebels, and were badly beaten.

“They were speaking loudly because Lung Hla Win is hard of hearing. They were talking about travelling to Mong Yen,” said the report. “Some Burmese soldiers accused them of trying to pass information to Shan rebels, detailing the Burmese troops’ movements so they could lay landmines along the route. So the soldiers beat them up.”

Then on November 16, a villager named Sai Ai Hsai, 40, from Mong Yen area, was reportedly shot in the right thigh by a soldier from Burmese army Battalion 69 while he was returning home from the jungle. He was taken to Lashio hospital for treatment.

“People here have been oppressed for a long time,” said Sai Hor Hseng, the spokesperson for SHRF. “When they [the Burmese army] come to these villages, they arbitrarily torture people and do anything they want. They do not protect civilians; instead, they threaten them.”

Sai Hor Hseng said that even though the country is now run by a civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), human rights violations are continuing.

The military continues to abuse villagers in any way they want, he said, while the government appears powerless to stop them.

“ These four villagers did not get any compensation,” said Sai Hor Hseng. “Nor did the soldiers involved receive any punishment.”

He added: “These four villagers were lucky to survive.”

According to a 2015-16 Amnesty International annual report: “Members of the [Burmese] security forces continued to violate human rights with near-total impunity. Investigations into human rights violations by the security forces were rare, and when they did occur they lacked transparency and independence.

“ Perpetrators were seldom held to account. Victims and their families continued to be denied their rights to justice, truth and reparation.”

The report concluded: “State officials, including members of the security forces, remained protected from prosecution for past human rights violations by immunity provisions in the 2008 Constitution.”

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than 230,000 people in Burma have become internally displaced across the country since 2015. About 100,000 of these IDPs fled from conflict in Kachin and northern Shan states.

By Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN)

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