World Bulletin / News Desk
A report has alleged that security forces in Myanmar have been systematically torturing ethnic minority civilians in the troubled state of Kachin.
The Bangkok-based Fortify Rights on Monday released its report claiming abuses targeting Kachin civilians on the third anniversary since fighting between rebels and the government resumed after a 17 year ceasefire.
Based on accounts from 78 survivors and witnesses, the report alleges that senior officers gave their consent for the torture of civilians by the military, police and intelligence agencies.
Fortify Rights' executive director Matthew Smith, telling CNN that the victims were accused of being members of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), said "The torture that we've documented is not a secret practice."
"When the police, the army or military intelligence are torturing Kachin civilians, they're not attempting to conceal it. They're sending a very loud and clear message to the Kachin population that any sort of sympathy for the KIA, or any activities with the KIA, will be dealt with very severely," he added.
The report claims that the victims were stabbed, beaten and had wire tied around their necks, hands and feet, along with other atrocities. Psychological torture methods are also used, such as prisoners being told to dig their own graves only to be released later. Some victims were told to lick their own blood from the floor after being beaten. Sexual abuse is also prevalent.
"You are Kachin, and we will kill all the Kachin," one victim from the mainly Christian ethnic Kachin minority claimed to have been told but Buddhist abusers.
According to CNN, Ye Htut, a spokesman for Myanmar President Thein Sein, has already rejected the allegations of torture, accusing Fortify Rights of "one-sided allegations."
"If they have concrete evidence, they can send it to the government and the government will investigate thoroughly and punish (offenders) if we find they've committed these crimes. We'll take action according to our laws," Ye Htut said, adding that the authorities "never use torture as a weapon in the conflict areas."
"You cannot apply the individual action to the government policy. Some U.S. soldiers are making wrongdoing in Afghanistan and Iraq, but we should not say it is the policy of the U.S. military or government," he said.
In response, Smith said, "if it's not state policy, then they should demonstrate that by credibly investigating and prosecuting those that are responsible for these abuses...but we're not seeing that, and this has been going on for three years now."
Over 100,000 people have been displaced into over 165 camps in Kachin State due to the decades-long conflict, with concerns growing over access to shelter, clean water and sanitation.Last Mod: 11 Haziran 2014, 12:31