Britain-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), which has investigated the situation in Burma, also known as Myanmar, quoted relief workers as saying that the attacks are “the largest against civilians in northern Karen State since the Burma Army completed the re-supply of its camps and construction of roads at the end of 2007." Over 30,000 people are displaced in Karen State, adding to the already over one million internally displaced people within Burma, CSW said.
Many of the villagers are believed to be Christians as the Karen community is predominantly Christian BosNewsLife established. The ruling military junta, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), sees Christianity as “a threat to its power base,” according to Christian Freedom International, another rights group active in the region.
"The Burma Army attacked several villages in northern Papun District of Karen State on March 4," CSW said, citing relief group Free Burma Rangers. Some nine homes and three farm houses were reportedly burned down in Ga Yu Der village. “The Burma Army also fired eight mortar rounds into Tay Bo Kee village. In both cases villagers fled before the troops came, and are now on the run in the jungle,” CSW told BosNewsLife.
CSW said it has learned that Burmese troops are pursuing those who fled, "seeking out villages and pockets of internally displaced people and destroying homes, food and property." It on the heels of a recent visit by United Nations Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari to Burma .
The SPDC, reportedly rejected the envoy’s proposals to amend the draft constitution to allow Nobel Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, currently under house arrest, to contest elections. He also failed to meet the SPDC’s Senior General Than Shwe, and the military government apparently refused to allow UN monitors to observe a planned referendum on the constitution in May.
"The regime’s brutal offensives against civilians in Karen State, the continuing gross violations of human rights throughout the country, and the failure of the UN envoy’s visit to bring any change at all mean that the time has come for the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to take personal charge of efforts to address the crisis in Burma.
UN SECRETARY GENERAL
"The time has come for the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to take personal charge of efforts to address the crisis in Burma,” said CSW Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas in a statement to BosNewsLife. "He should visit Burma as a matter of urgency to facilitate meaningful dialogue between the regime, the democracy groups and the ethnic nationalities, backed by a binding Security Council resolution."
Thomas said his group also urged the UN Security Council “to impose a universal arms embargo on Burma and to refer the Burmese regime to the International Criminal Court to investigate crimes against humanity."
In addition, CSW wants the European Union to impose “targeted banking sanctions on members of the regime and their cronies." The group accused Burmese authorities of showing no interest in real reforms, despite the referendum on the constitution. Burmese authorizes have denied wrongdoing, and have consistently described reports about human rights violations as Western propaganda and American imperialism.