Written by U Ne Oo on 1996-08-20

Dr U Ne Oo
48/2 Ayliffes Road
St Marys SA 5042

August 20, 1996.

1211 GENEVA 10

Dear Sir,

RE: Forced Relocations in Karenni and Shan States

I am a Burmese national presently residing in Adelaide Australia. I call the Special Rapporteur's attention to the recent incidents of forced relocations in Karenni and Shan States, eastern part of Myanmar. In this connection, I would like to refer to the appeals by the Human Rights Watch/Asia on 9 July 1996 and a report by independent human rights monitors - the Karen Human Rights Groups - on 15 July 1996. I also wish to refer the Amnesty International report, ASA 16/3896, on 8 August 1996 about continuing human rights abuses against ethnic minorities in Myanmar. All reports are indicating that there has been massive forced relocation of Karenni and Shan ethnic minorities in eastern Myanmar.

The military government of Myanmar used the forced relocation as an effective counter-insurgency measures, known as four-cut strategy, in order to deprive the rebels of the supports from population. In that process, the villagers are ordered to abandon their normal places of residence at short notice and to destroy their houses, properties and villages. The villagers are then taken to the concentration camps usually located near the army outposts. The movement of the villagers are then restricted to the relocated site. The military government do not give adequate food and medicine for villagers within the camps.

In 1992-93, such method of forced relocation was employed in Karen State against the Karen Naainst the Karen National Union rebels. As a result of the process, the minority Karen population, thousands in the numbers, had been forced to flee to the refugee camps in Thailand in 1994/95.

As a result of recent forced relocations in Karenni state, there has already been an estimated 2,300 Karenni villagers fleeing to the refugee camps in Thailand, the Human Rights Watch/Asia reports. As the rainy season in Burma progressed, I fear that the humanitarian situation of villagers in those concentration camps may become worsened.

I therefore request the Special Rapporteur to (1) visit those camps in Karenni and Shan states and (2) to recommend the military government of Myanmar to give compensation to these villagers who have to destroy their properties in the government's counter-insurgency campaign. I also request the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Yangon and United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) to visit those sites and ensure the villager's humanitarian needs been met.

In closing, I thank the Special Rapporteur for your kind attention to this matter.

Yours respectfully and sincerely,

Sd. U Ne Oo.

cc. Ms Sadako Ogata, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Case Postale 2500, CH-1211 Geneva 2 Depot, Switzerland.

Letters to Special Rapporteur Rajsoomer Lallah