Posted: Jan 24 2012
BURMESE security forces have committed serious human rights abuses in the northern Kachin state in nine months of fierce fighting with rebels, Human Rights Watch says, citing interviews with more than 100 victims.
Government forces have also blocked humanitarian aid to tens of thousands of displaced civilians who are in desperate need of food, medicine and shelter, the US organization says in an 83-page report.
The group says soldiers have threatened and tortured Kachin civilians during interrogations and raped women.
“The army has also used anti-personnel mines and conscripted forced laborers, including children as young as 14, on front lines,” it says.
Human Rights Watch says Kachin fighters have also been involved in abuses, including the use of child soldiers and anti-personnel mines.
The agency describes attacks on Kachin villages and the displacement of 75,000 people, 45,000 of whom have sought refuge in 30 camps along the Burma-China border.
Since last June, when a 17-year ceasefire with the rebel Kachin Independence Army broke down, the government has granted UN agencies access to the camps only once, in December.
Since the start of the year, the government has negotiated ceasefires with a number of ethnic minorities to end long-running civil wars.
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