The Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) released its latest commentary report on 16 June, titled: “Why would they target us?” Exploring patterns of the Burma Army’s retaliatory abuses against villagers across Southeast Burma.

The report includes killings, air strikes, indiscriminate shelling, shootings, arbitrary arrests, and property destruction have have devastating consequences for local communities.

This interview with Saw Nanda Hsue, KHRG Advocacy Coordinator, is about the reason for release of this report, the military’s targeting attack on civilians and their demands from international community.

TLT: Could you talk me about   background reason for the release of “Why would they target us?” report?

Saw Nanda Hsue: Our report is aimed to highlight military’s systematic targeting of civilians, and innocent civilians turning into scapegoat amid armed conflicts.

TLT: What are the consequences and impacts of this targeting on social communities?

 Saw Nanda Hsue:  Targeting of civilians have caused the loss of human rights and crimes against humanity. Targeting of civilians happened in southeast of Myanmar in previous dictatorship regime. Villagers were arrested, tortured and killed when they were found near the conflict zones. Villages were entirely set fire. Such attacks were also seen in 2021 military coup. Civilians are just the scapegoats of armed conflicts. They were brutally killed. Indiscriminate shelling of military council destroyed public property and killed civilians. People lost their livestock and houses. The military’s airstrikes have  caused major damages of property,  religious building, schools and clinics. These attacks were intentionally targeted to civilians, not clashes of armed groups. It is violation of international human rights and the act of war crime.

TLT: What do you want to demand international governments and organizations in relation to the situations in southeast Myanmar?

Saw Nanda Hsue:  In relation to targeting of civilians, we call on ASEAN to abandon the current Five-Point Consensus. Around 600,000 civilians have been displaced from their homes. They need humanitarian assistance every day. We call on ASEAN to work with humanitarian aid organizations which have more than century of experiences in these works. If they work with the military regime, the assistance will not reach needy persons because the military is the root cause of current humanitarian crisis.

TLT: What is your concluding remark in this interview on the report?

Saw Nanda Hsue: We have demanded justice and all the possible means to put pressure on the military regime for their accountability in committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, and violating humanitarian laws. We are continuously asking international communities through legal perspective for their actions against the military to bear accountability for severe crime and to end impunity against their crimes.

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