Over fifty years of civil war have left Burma one of the poorest countries in the world. The military dictatorship attacks its own people, killing thousands, and leaving millions displaced.
Many in opposition are either imprisoned or killed. In most of the country there is a false peace due to the dictators’ ability to control dissent, however in some ethnic areas the Regime’s army is still attacking the people. There are over 1 million internally displaced people, and over 1 million refugees who have fled the country. There is continual environmental destruction, an HIV/AIDS epidemic, the ongoing laying of landmines, human trafficking and religious persecution. Because of the Regime’s mismanagement and corruption, it’s the world’s second largest opium producer and the main producer of methamphetamines in SE Asia. Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize recipient and leader of the democracy movement, is repeatedly put under arrest.
The Regime’s army extends their control over the ethnic minorities by building roads and camps in ethnic homelands, forcing people to relocate or flee into the jungle. There is documented forced labor and the use of rape as a weapon. The Regime’s army lays landmines to keep villagers from returning home and supporting the resistance. They aim to dominate the population, assimilate them and exploit them. They do this directly through military attacks, selective cease-fire agreements, and the use of proxy ethnic forces allied with the Regime.
One devastating result is the internally displaced people, who are forced to flee their homes because of the Regime’s army. Some are forcibly relocated and now living under the Regime’s control. Some who are attacked by the Regime’s army are able to return to their homes after the Regime’s army leaves. Others who are not able to return, live in temporary sites nearby. And many are on the run or in hiding now.
All of these people lack security, food, education for their children, and suffer increased health problems.
Yet the people of Burma have not given up. The internally displaced people’s unwillingness to give up their homelands is one of the greatest examples of civil disobedience to the dictators. The pro-democracy movement is still active.
In the war zones the ethnic resistance attempts to protect their people. They help villagers escape the Regime’s army, clear landmines and help people cross roads controlled by the Regime’s army. There are also many non-governmental organizations and community based organizations that work together to help provide basic services.
Working together, the Free Burma Rangers bring help, hope and love. We are dedicated to freedom for all the peoples of Burma.