Burma’s brutal military dictatorship is engaged in ethnic cleansing in Karen, Karenni and Shan state in Eastern Burma. More than 3,000 villages have been destroyed in the past 12 years, and half a million people are internally displaced. The United Nations has accused the regime of breaking the Geneva Convention by deliberately targeting civilians in Eastern Burma. Levels of poverty and disease in conflict zones are as high as in the worst conflict hit African countries. The regime uses slave labour, rape as a weapon of war, and tortures and mutilates civilians. The regime also refuses to let aid agencies and the UN into these areas.
The military junta of Myanmar continues to wage war on the country's ethnic minorities. The refugee crisis continues to worsen as horrific violence spreads through the jungle.
The current offensive in Karen State follows a clear pattern. Burmese troops force Karen civilians to relocate to villages already under their control. Old villages are burnt down and land-mined to stop villagers returning. Forced labor is demanded for months at a time. Anyone caught trying to leave is shot. Without access to their farms, many Karen suffer severe food shortages.
Approximately 3 million Burmese have been forced to flee to neighboring countries. For refugees from eastern Burma, return to their homes may not be realized due to the extensive use of landmines by all parties to the conflict.
Approximatley 200,000 Refugees have crossed in to Thailand into Refugee camps. About 2 million more Karen are living in Thailand illegally.
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