STARVING THEM OUT: Forced Relocations, Killings and the Systematic Starvation of Villagers in Dooplaya District

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STARVING THEM OUT: Forced Relocations, Killings and the Systematic Starvation of Villagers in Dooplaya District

Published date:
Friday, March 31, 2000

In early 1997, the State Law & Order Restoration Council (SLORC) military junta ruling Burma mounted a major offensive against the Karen National Union (KNU) and succeeded in capturing and occupying most of Dooplaya District, a region of thousands of square kilometres in central Karen State which had largely been under KNU control until that time. Tens of thousands of villagers tried to flee to Thailand but most were trapped inside the district by rapidly advancing SLORC columns. The SLORC troops immediately began interrogating, harassing and even terrorising villagers in order to consolidate their hold on the region, but there were also signs that the regime, confident of its total control, might try to soften its abuses and bring some small-scale 'development' to parts of the district to keep the villagers from attempting to flee. In late 1997 the regime changed its name to the State Peace & Development Council (SPDC), but with no change in policies or tactics.