Helping Where We Can: A Karen State Mission

31 May 2023

Karen State, Burma

A Ranger team conducted a mission in the A Htoo Daytha area of Karen State, Burma, from March 15, 2023, to April 7, 2023. They provided support to internally displaced persons (IDPs) from eight villages, totaling 1,426 IDPs. The IDPs had been forced to flee their villages multiple times due to fighting between the Burma Army and local Ethnic Armed Organization (EAO) forces. 

In addition to forcing villagers from their homes, the Burma Army specifically targeted civilians, resulting in human rights abuses that our team documented.

Two villagers were shot and killed in Unefoli Village, and Saw La Ka Pa Htoo was killed while on his way back from Mya Tha Gone Village. The Burma Army also engaged in arbitrary arrests and detentions, like U Soe Naing Oo, who was captured while shopping and detained without trial on charges of treason. Saya Saw Do Jaw was similarly arrested without cause and has not been seen since. Ko Kyaw Lin was being used as a human shield when he was hit by a bullet and died. Human shields and forced labor are regularly used by the Burma Army. Homes belonging to U Kyi San, U Win Tin, Saw Tha Du, Saw Shwe Maung, Daw Than Htay, Saw Shwe Naing, and Saw Aung Naing were deliberately burned down by the Burma Army. Thirteen homes were also burned in Tan Moe Taung Village.

The ongoing conflict and human rights violations in the A Htoo Daytha area have had a profound impact on the education system in the region. Schools are damaged or destroyed. They also suffer from insufficient funding, a lack of investment in infrastructure, and a scarcity of teaching materials. As a result, many schools have been forced to close, depriving children of access to quality education. 

The Ranger team helped as they could, financially supporting 31 schools and 114 teachers. They also distributed school packs to 502 children through the Good Life Club program, singing songs, teaching good hygiene habits and distributing shirts.

The conflict has caused a shortage of medical supplies and healthcare professionals, leaving the healthcare system overwhelmed. Restricted access to healthcare services due to military checkpoints and armed clashes further exacerbates the situation. 

Our Ranger team provided medical treatment in 11 villages, treating a total of 560 patients. Common health issues in the region include high blood pressure, anemia, stomach diseases, vitamin deficiencies, chronic limb pain, and the common cold.

Thank you and God bless you,

Free Burma Rangers

Home destroyed by the Burma Army.
Showing a movie during a GLC program.
Providing medical care for IDPs.
A group photo after a successful GLC program.