“As armed conflicts have intensified, the number of displaced persons is increasing.”

The military junta is targeting civilians in the territory of KNU, with heavy weapon firing, airstrike, drone attacks and human rights violations almost every day.

This interview with Saw Lay Kapaw, the spokesperson of Karen Peace Support Network, is about human rights violations of military council, escalation of armed conflicts and hardships of displaced persons.

TLT: Could you talk about the military’s attacks and human rights violation in the territory of KNU?

Saw Lay Kapaw: The military is committing human rights almost every day. They carried out random attacks on villages and airstrikes almost every day. They also trouble people, with tortures and arrests. They steal public belongings, or destroy property.

TLT: What is the military situation at present, and how are they carrying out offensives?

Saw Lay Kapaw: Conflicts are occurring in KNU controlled area. The military is suffering losses. As they are losing their bases more and more, they are carrying out heavy weapon attacks and airstrikes, targeting civilians.

TLT: Causality of civilian has increased in Brigade 3 of Nyaunglaybin district included in KNU. What is the situation on the ground?

Saw Lay Kapaw: The military’s camp in Nyaunglaybin district has been destroyed. They retaliated KNU and affiliated forces with heavy weapon shelling and airstrikes almost every day, killing many civilians. However, the international community has not taken any action against Myanmar military.

They raid villages, arrest civilians, and steal public property. They also trouble civilians who bought food items, and they confiscate the commodities. The military prevent injured IDPs not to go to hospital for medical treatment, and they also disturb civilians not to get access to buy medicines.

TLT: It was learnt that the number of IDPs in Nyaunglaybin district has reached over 200,000. Could you talk about them?

Saw Lay Kapaw: Yes, there have been over 200,000 IDPs in the territory of Brigade 3. As they have to live in safe forests, they have to live in makeshift shelters and have no access to enough food, medical doctors and medicines. Children and elderly persons are not safe. Lack of  insufficient foods has worsened situations. We have no enough capacity to support the increasing number of IDPs amid higher commodity prices and no regular donors. These displaced persons had abandoned their agriculture over a year. They do not feel safe to go back home.

TLT: International assistance is expected for these IDPs. They need effective humanitarian aid. While armed conflict has escalated, the number of IDPs is increasing. They need more aid as they could not return home at the moment. More cross-border humanitarian assistance is required. People inside the country cannot provide effective assistance due to the threats of military. The figure of IDPs reported by UN organizations is much lesser than the actual number, and that these agencies are advised to collect accurate figure which is crucial for receiving aid from international community.

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