FBR Report: Positive Change and Ongoing Oppression in Burma
Dear friends, we thank God for all the recent good changes in Burma and congratulate all those who have been recognized for their efforts towards a free, just and reconciled Burma. At the same time oppression continues. Here is an update on current events in Burma and especially how we experience the situation on the ground where the FBR relief teams operate.
1) Aung San Suu Kyi holds a position in parliament and she along with others has received honors on behalf of the International Community for their dedication to freedom for the people of Burma.
2) Many political prisoners have been released.
3) Censorship has been eased and travel restrictions also eased.
4) There are now ceasefire negotiations ongoing with many of the ethnic groups with an overall reduction in fighting.
5) Burma Army leaders have signed an agreement to end forced labor and there has been a reduction in some areas.
6) The FBR had the opportunity to meet leaders of the new government and this is a positive step.
At the same time there is ongoing bad news:
1) Burma Army attacks against the Kachin continue with over 70,000 Kachin people displaced by over 100 Burma Army battalions in northern Burma.
2) In the Shan State fighting and displacement continues and in the southern Shan State there have been over 30 clashes between the Burma Army and Shan resistance this year. FBR medics have given medical treatment to many of those wounded in these attacks by the Burma Army.
3) In the Karen State the Burma Army has used the ceasefires to supply their camps beyond the normal supply rate and continue to use forced labor. They have also built three new camps in violation of the ceasefire agreement. Border Guard Forces under the authority of the Burma Army have continued attacks in Karen State.
4) As of this report, at least 311 political prisoners remain under arrest.* Censorship laws such as the Electronic Transactions Act remain in effect as does the threat of arbitrary arrest. *AAPP report.
5) In Arakan State 80,000 people have been displaced by inter-ethnic violence between the Rohingya and Arakan. This has been partially fueled by repressive Burma Government policies.
6) Humanitarian access is still blocked in many areas of Burma.
In our view, we see two things happening at once, positive change and ongoing repression. The FBR will continue giving help, hope and love to those under attack, to get the news out and to stand with the oppressed. We pray for changes and will continue to develop the beginning of a relationship we have with some in the new government, as well as with Aung San Suu Kyi and others, for the purpose of reconciliation, justice and freedom for all.
Thank you for your prayers and support.
God bless you,
Free Burma Rangers