SPDC mortar attack on school in Papun District

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SPDC mortar attack on school in Papun District

Published date:
Wednesday, February 24, 2010

One 15-year-old student is dead and two other students are injured after an 81 mm mortar fired into an IDP hiding site in Lu Thaw Township, Papun District, landed in a school set up by the villagers. As of February 21st, the site's 353 residents remained in hiding and are actively seeking to avoid being shot-on-sight by SPDC Army troops that remain in their area.

Footnotes

[1]For details on the exploitative abuses resulting from the Northern Karen State Offensive in Papun District, see "IDPs, land confiscation and forced recruitment in Papun District," KHRG, July 2009; "SPDC and DKBA road construction, forced labour and looting in Papun District," KHRG, March 2009.

[2]For an update on SPDC operations in Papun since withdrawing from some forward positions during December 2008, see "Starving them out: Food shortages and exploitative abuse in Papun District," KHRG, October 2009.

[3]The Free Burma Rangers (FBR) has also reported this incident, citing different ages for the boys injured in the attack. See, "FBR REPORT: Burma Army Kills One Child and Wounds Two in Attack on School," Free Burma Rangers, February 24th 2009. The discrepancy in age likely reflects the fact that villagers in rural areas, particularly IDPs in hiding, often do not keep track of specific birth date information for themselves or their children, and may not have birth certificates or other identification documents by which to determine their exact age. They may therefore only be able to guess at their own or another villager's actual age, and give inconsistent information to different interviewers. Similar lack of formality regarding identifying information may also explain a difference in naming reported by KHRG and FBR: the boy referred to as Saw Hs--- by KHRG in this report is identified as Saw Ree Re in FBR's report. The discrepancy appears to be the result of one interviewer being told the boy's actual given name, Saw Hs---, and another being told the boy's nickname, Saw Ree Re, by which many other villagers would know and refer to him.

[4]See, for example, "Mortar attacks, landmines, and the destruction of schools in Papun District," KHRG, August 2008.

[5]For more details on the way SPDC Army patrols disrupt education and health services for children, see Grave Violations: Assessing abuses of child rights in Karen areas during 2009, KHRG, January 2010.

[6]For a description of some of the problems faced by medical teams attempting to operate while also evading the SPDC Army, see Provision of Primary Health Care among Internally displaced people of Burma: Mid Year Report 2009, Backpack Health Worker Team, June 2009.