Suffering in Silence: The Human Rights Nightmare of the Karen People of Burma

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Universal-Publishers, 2001 - History - 297 pages
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Situated in the triangle between South Asia, Southeast Asia, and China, Burma is a country of 50 million people struggling under the oppression of one of the world's most brutal military regimes. Yet, the voices of its people remain largely unheard in the international arena. Most of the limited media coverage deals with the non-violent struggle for democracy led by Nobel laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi or the Army's repression of university students and urban dissidents, but these only form a small part of the story. This book presents the voices of ethnic Karen villagers to give an idea of what it is like to be a rural villager in Burma: the brutal and constant shifts of forced labor for the Army, the intimidation tactics, the systematic extortion and looting by Army and State authorities, the constant fear of arbitrary arrest, rape, torture, and summary execution, the forced relocation and burning of hundreds of civilian villages and the systematic uprooting of their crops. Three detailed reports produced by the Karen Human Rights Group in 1999 are used to give the reader a sampling of the life of Karen villagers, both in areas where there is armed resistance to the rule of the SPDC junta and in areas where the junta is fully in control. The Karen Human Rights Group is a small and independent local organization which has been using the firsthand testimony of villagers to document the human rights situation in rural Burma since 1992. Much of the group's work can be seen online at Kevin Heppner, who contributed the introductory sections of the book, is a Canadian volunteer who founded KHRG in 1992 and still serves as its coordinator. Claudio Delang, who edited this book, has a keen interest in Karen life and customs. He is currently completing a PhD dissertation on the Karen and Hmong in northern Thailand.

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Understanding Burma
Suggested further reading
Armies in the Region
KNLA and DKBA Activities
Villages in the Sittaung River Plains
Villages in the Hills
Suffering of the Villagers
Notes on the Text
Suffering in the Villages
Flight and Internally Displaced Persons
Future of the Area

Flight of the Villagers
Table of Killings by SPDC Troops

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Page 1 - ... economy in 1 999 than in 1996 or 1997. For example, the privatization process, which was supposed to take off in 1995, has not only slowed down or stopped; the Ministry of Industry 1 is in fact implementing more than seventy new industrial projects all over the country. Then again, since the SLORC changed its name to the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) in November 1997, government intervention in the market has been on the increase. And the government's command and control over the...
Page 2 - Our movement stands 100 percent behind the leadership of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy, whom the people have recognized as the sole legitimate leaders of Burma.
Page 25 - The non-Burman political groups are frequently just as guilty, relentlessly persecuting racial, regional and religious minorities within their own populations while demonising the Burmans, thereby preventing the very understanding among peoples which is so necessary to bring an end to military rule.
Page 26 - Human Rights Discourse and the Development of Democracy in a Multi-Ethnic State." Asian Journal of Communication 14(2): 174—91. "Burmese Military Blame Karen Situation on KNU." 2006. Mizzima News, May 15. Available at Cady, John F. 1958. A History of Modern Burma. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press. Callahan, Mary. 2007. Political Authority in Burma's Ethnic Minority States: Devolution, Occupation, and Coexistence. Policy Studies 31. Washington, DC: East- West Center Washington....
Page 26 - Oct. 1985 to April 1987, through rebel-held areas in Sagaing Division, Kachin State and Shan State.
Page 13 - SLORC creations, while at least 5 groups continue to fight the regime (the Karen National Union, the Shan State Army, the Karenni National Progressive Party [which the regime includes in its 'ceasefire' list], the Chin National Front, the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, various Arakan Rohingya groups, etc.).

About the author (2001)

Delang is currently completing a PhD dissertation on the Karen and Hmong in northern Thailand.

Heppner is a Canadian volunteer who founded KHRG in 1992 and still serves as its coordinator.

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