PHR report on human rights abuses in Karen State

The Karen have long embraced the phrase, “For us, surrender is out of the question”. A ceasefire is dangled in front of them in recent months. At what cost should they embrace a chance for peace?

An international NGO, Physicians for Human Rights,  has published a report cataloguing human right abuses in Karen State over the past few months. The conclusion is disturbing: The Burma regime continues to abuse the basic rights and dignity of the Karen: forced labor, torture and land confiscation.

Those Karen living near international development projects endure abuse 8 times the rate of those not near such projects.

Here is a link to the report titled Bitter Wounds and Lost Dreams.


Backpack Healthworker loses child

We’ve heard many reports of the recent violence inflicted by the Burma Army in Kachin State. In the last year, there have been over 750 documented human rights abuse incidents committed by the Burma Army. And we are saddened to share the news that the violence has torn at the center of the Backpack Medics BHM supports.

Nusan is a female Kachin health worker, who at the age of 26 years old, is one of the youngest field-in-charges for the Backpack Health Worker Team. She wanted us to share with you her painful loss caused by military violence in Kachin State.

In November of 2011, Nusan was 8 months pregnant with her first child when the Burma Army attacked her village. As she was running with the other villagers through the mountains to safety in China, she fell and her water prematurely broke and the leg of her baby started to come out. Unfortunately, she couldn’t induce labor so the villagers had to carry her to the hospital in China. Once there, she had an emergency c-section and the baby died after 2 hours.

Nusan is now back to work as a health worker and in charge of 3 backpack medic teams and one emergency team providing health care in the refugee camps along the border in China.

The Chinese government is threatening to close these camps. The backpack medics are worried about where the Kachin refugees can go if this happens.

We have very little control over what the Chinese government does, but we can have a direct and indirect positive impact on the lives of the Kachin by supporting them in the following ways:

First, the BPHWT needs your support. BHM is currently working hard to secure funding for additional medics in Kachin State.  Please consider making a donation to BHM’s medic training or medicine program.  Your donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Transparent Fish Fund, and will empower people like Nusan who provide the only medical treatment to villagers in Kachin State.

Second, please write to your officials and ask that the US renew the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act. The US should not be doing business a brutal regime that is committing some of the worst human rights violations in the world.