Hunger Wielded as a Weapon in Thaton District

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Hunger Wielded as a Weapon in Thaton District

Published date:
Wednesday, September 20, 2006

In March and April 2006, SPDC and DKBA units deliberately targeted and destroyed dozens of hill fields belonging to villagers from three villages in Bilin township of Thaton District in the southwest of Karen State. Burning the fields too early in the growing cycle severely restricts the proportion of the field that can be planted, which in turn limits the size of the harvest. Both the SPDC and the DKBA know this and the burning of these fields represents a systematic campaign of crop destruction intended to obstruct the villagers' access to food and in effect starve them out of the hills. The villagers already suffer from food shortages, and this latest move by the military will only aggravate the situation. The next paddy harvest due in November will be severely reduced as a result, and these villagers will face even more serious food shortages for the coming year.

Footnotes

[1] KNU Press Release #22/06, August 29th 2006

[2] Karen Human Rights Group. "Food Security", in: Surviving in Shadow: Widespread Militarization and the Systematic Use of Forced Labour in the Campaign for Control of Thaton District. p. 87. (KHRG #2006-01, 17/1/06)

[3] The full text of the Protocol is available on the website of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/94.htm

[4] Henckaerts, J.M, & Doswald-Beck, L. Customary International Humanitarian Law, Volume 1: Rules. London : Cambridge University Press, March 2005

[5] Jean-Marie Henckaerts. "Study on customary international humanitarian law: A contribution to the understanding and respect for the rule of law in armed conflict", in: International Review of the Red Cross. p. 188, Vol. 87, No. 857, March 2005. Accessed on the World Wide Web at: http:// 192.91.247.98/Web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/htmlall/review-857-p175/$File/irrc_857_Henckaerts.pdf

[6] State Law and Order Restoration Council; the former name of the SPDC as it was known from September 1988 to November 1997

[7] Burma Socialist Program Party; the military regime ruling Burma from 1962 to September 1988

[8] Karen Human Rights Group. "Food Security", in: Surviving in Shadow: Widespread Militarization and the Systematic Use of Forced Labour in the Campaign for Control of Thaton District. p. 82. (KHRG #2006-01, 17/1/06)

[9] United Nations Security Council Resolution 1674 (2006). Accessed on the World Wide Web through the UNSC website at: http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N06/331/99/PDF/N0633199.pdf?OpenElement