Following the release of Physicians for Human Rights’ (PHR) reportdocumenting human rights violations and humanitarian needs in Kachin State,northern Burma, PHR applauds Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for expressingconcern about violence against ethnic groups in Burma. PHR’s report, Under Siege in Kachin State, Burma,detailed attacks by the Burmese military on civilians, including looting food,firing indiscriminately into villages, and forcing civilians to serve asporters and human minesweepers. Earlier this week, PHR called on SecretaryClinton to discuss these and other crimes during her historic trip to Burma.
In her initial reports, Secretary Clinton has expressed concernabout violence against ethnic groups, the ongoing imprisonment of politicaldissidents, and Burma’s ties to North Korea. She also called for greater accessfor humanitarian aid groups in areas of conflict -one of PHR’s key recommendationsto the Government of Burma. Secretary Clinton noted that preliminary gesturesof openness on the part of the leaders of Burma will not automaticallytranslate into a lifting of sanctions.
While PHR welcomes initial changes in Burma, the US andothers in the international community must not lose sight of the ongoing abusesin rural Burma. Incremental changes that do not reach ethnic minoritycommunities are not signs of sustainable progress. PHR applauds SecretaryClinton for addressing ongoing human rights violations in Burma, and urges theUS Administration to continue to closely monitor the situation in Kachin Stateand other ethnic areas of Burma.