Urgent update by the Shan Human Rights Foundation
March 17th 2015
Burma Army shelling in Laogai and continued rights abuse highlight urgent need for protection of Kokang civilians
On March 3, 2015, refugees sheltering at the exhibition hall at Border Post 125 in China near Nansan, opposite Laogai, were moved by Chinese authorities back to the IDP camp on the Kokang side of the border. On March 7, Burmese military authorities came to this camp, distributed some food, and assured the IDPs that the security situation in Laogai was stable and it was safe to return home. This led some of the displaced civilians to return.
On March 10, fighting broke out at Nan Ting Men mountain, about two kilometers from Laogai, and the Burma Army began firing mortar shells. At 10 am, one of the shells landed in Jin Shan Cheng quarter of Laogai, in the yard of a family who had returned from the border on March 8. Three young children were playing in the yard. The explosion killed two boys, aged 8 and 11, and seriously injured a 6-year-old girl. The parents, who were inside their house when the explosion happened, brought the girl to the Chinese side of the border for emergency hospital treatment. She is still in a critical condition.
On March 10, an 80-year-old woman who had arrived at Border Post 137, south of Nansan, was admitted to hospital in China for injuries inflicted by Burmese government troops. She was from Shi Ma Shan village, about 5 kilometers from the border. She had been staying alone in her house since the outbreak of fighting in February. On March 8 at 6 pm, six Burmese soldiers broke into her house, and started ransacking her possessions. She tried to run out of the house, but was assaulted by the soldiers. She suffered knife wounds in her back and hand, and was also hit with rifle butts. She stayed the night in the jungle, where she was found the next day by a neighbor, who took her to the Chinese border by motorcycle.
SHRF deplores the continuing Burma Army abuse against civilians, and demands that the Burmese military authorities immediately stop pressuring displaced villagers to return home while their troops are continuing to commit such crimes with impunity.
SHRF calls on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to push for immediate access to the Kokang area to monitor protection and humanitarian needs of displaced communities there.
Girl, aged 6, injured by Burma Army shelling on March 10, 2015
80-year-old woman slashed and beaten by Burma Army troops on March 8, 2015
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