While it’s no secret that the Government of Burma oppresses its people, the international community has only had survivors’ stories to assert these claims — until now. One week before Burma’s human rights record will be reviewed by the UN at the Universal Periodic Review in Geneva, PHR has released the first widespread, quantitative reporting of rights abuses in Chin State, Burma. By going to door-to-door to survey the people of Chin State, PHR documented abuses perpetrated by government officials including forced labor, religious persecution, beatings, killing, disappearances, torture, rape and widespread pillaging.PHR believes the report, which includes a foreword from former U.N. Chief Prosecutor Richard J. Goldstone and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, shows evidence of “crimes against humanity” – “the most serious crimes of concern to the international community” – which fall under the purview of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The research revealed widespread reports of human rights violations among 621 randomly selected households during the 12 months prior to interviews including:
- Nearly 92 percent of the households interviewed reported at least one episode of forced labor, such as portering of military supplies or building roads.
- Government authorities, primarily soldiers, committed more than 98 percent of the abuses.
Justice Goldstone denounced the acts and called for a UN Commission of Inquiry:
It is unconscionable that suffering as dire as that of the Chin people under Burma’s dictator_ship should be allowed to persist in silence. We urge the United Nations to immediately establish a Commission of Inquiry into crimes against humanity in Chin State, and in all of Burma.
You can view the full report, “Life Under the Junta: Evidence of Crimes Against Humanity in Burma’s Chin State” as well as the latest news on the report at http://lifeunderthejunta.org.