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Right to food: reports of violations in Burma
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Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: Permanent People’s Tribunal on the Right to Food and the Rule of Law in Asia English, Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Date of publication: April 2003
Description/subject: "Which is more important: a full stomach or equal protection under the law? Most people would hesitate to answer. It’s a false choice that ignores the interdependence of economic and civil rights, which proposes that the hungry will be nourished by law and order, while the well-fed are fortified against dysfunctional courts. This May 2003, the Asian Legal Resource Centre announced the launch of the Permanent People’s Tribunal on the Right to Food and the Rule of Law in Asia. The Tribunal comes at a time when many governments still assert that economic and social rights can be addressed separately from civil and political rights. In fact, no rights are guaranteed without effective laws to secure them and ensure redress for victims. Without equitable and enforceable laws, the product of a farmer’s plough is no more secure than the product of a journalist’s pen... Read more..." This page also contains specific reports on violations of the right to food in Burma.
Language: English, Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Source/publisher: Asian Legal Resource Centre
Format/size: html, pdf (672K)
Alternate URLs: http://burma.ahrchk.net/1996-2000tribunal/burmese/index.htm
http://burma.ahrchk.net/1996-2000tribunal/report/index.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: People's Tribunal on Food Scarcity and Militatrization in Burma
Description/subject: "The Tribunal was initiated by the Asian Human Rights Commission, a Hong Kong-based organization that promotes a variety of political, economic and social rights campaigns throughout Asia. The People's Tribunal arose from a growing concern that Burma's serious crises in the areas of basic economic, social and cultural rights are worsening, yet have not been adequately addressed by the international discourse on Burma. Thus the Tribunal's goal is to create greater awareness of the systemic denial of food, as the most basic human rights, and its relationship to Burma's heavily militarized state. A People's Tribunal relies on the willingness of victims to testify about their plight as well as on the participation of credible outsiders, those without a political agenda, to document this testimony and consider it within a human rights framework."
Language: English, Burmese
Source/publisher: Asian Human Rights Commission
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://burma.ahrchk.net/1996-2000tribunal/about/whatis.htm
Date of entry/update: 29 November 2010


Individual Documents

Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2008 - Chapter 8: Deprivation of Livelihood
Date of publication: 23 November 2009
Description/subject: "Once considered to be the rice bowl of Asia, in 2008 Burma continued to languish and suffer under the corrupt military rule of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), Burma’s authoritarian military regime. Burmese citizens faced countless human rights violations aimed at destabilising and destroying livelihoods and building up the military, the junta’s wealth and the wealth of state affiliated businessmen. As a result, the country remained among the worst in the world in terms of inflation, poverty, health and education. While approximately 40 percent of Burma’s annual spending goes toward funding the military, only three percent is spent healthcare.1 (For more information, see Chapter 11: Right to Health). The ruling junta has demonstrated a complete lack of will to implement basic, sound economic principles, and maintains a system that continues to deny many social and human rights to its people. The consequences of such negligence have been dire, bringing the once prosperous nation another year closer to economic and social collapse. In a report released in December of 2008, Burma ranked 135th out of 179 countries on the Human Development Index, down three places from the year before. Moreover, the United Nations estimated that more than a third of Burmese children are malnourished and more than 30 percent of the population lives below the poverty line..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Docmentation Unit (HRDU)
Format/size: pdf (886K)
Date of entry/update: 05 December 2009


Title: On the Edge of Survival: The Continuing Rat Infestation and Food Crisis in Chin State, Burma
Date of publication: 24 September 2009
Description/subject: Executive Summary" "Since late 2007, the people of Chin State have been struggling with massive food shortages and hunger after the vast bamboo forests that cover the mountainous landscape of Chin State began to flower and die- a process that occurs twice every century. Already struggling for their survival due to decades of severe economic repression and human rights abuses, this natural disaster has left the Chin people on the edge of survival. This report is a follow-up to CHRO’s July 2008 report, “Critical Point: Food Scarcity and Hunger in Burma’s Chin State,” which first brought worldwide attention to the dire humanitarian conditions facing the Chin people. This report provides an update on the current conditions in Chin State, the effects of the food crisis, and responses taken to assist people in the affected areas of Chin State. The bamboo of Chin State began to flower in late 2006. Attracted to the fruit produced by the bamboo, the flowering process triggered an explosion in the rat population. After exhausting the fruit supply, the rats turned on people’s crops and food supplies, causing massive food shortages for local villagers dependent on farming for their livelihood and subsistence. In 2008, CHRO estimated that as many as 200 villages were affected by severe food shortages associated with the bamboo flowering, and no less than 100,000 people, or 20 percent of the entire population of Chin State, were in need of immediate food aid. CHRO now believes those figures are much higher. Since CHRO first reported on the crisis, food shortages spread to seven townships in Chin State as well as parts of Sagaing Division. Up to 82 percent of the farmland has been destroyed in certain affected regions of Chin State. In several villages, each and every household is in need of immediate food aid. The consequences of the food crisis are also more apparent now. Over 54 people are known to have died due to the effects of extreme malnourishment and famine-related disease; children comprise the majority of recorded deaths. As access to affected regions is limited, this number is likely to be an underestimate. Disease and malnourishment is widespread, particularly among women, children, and the elderly. Children with little ability to concentrate on studies due to hunger have been forced to drop out of school in order to help their families forage for food: school enrollment rates are down 50 to 60 percent from last year. Several thousand Chin have fled their villages to search for food elsewhere. More than 4,000 have already arrived to the India and Thailand border. Villagers are now struggling with hunger and severe malnutrition due to food shortages in Chin State. Children are particularly at risk of malnourishment. (© CHRO, 2007) Up to 82 percent of the farmland has been destroyed in certain affected regions of Chin State. (© CHRO, 2009) The situation has been made more acute by the ruling military regime’s utter neglect of the suffering, compounded by policies and practices of abuse and repression against Chin civilians. As thousands struggle with hunger, starvation, and disease, the SPDC continues practices of forced labor, extorting excessive amounts of money from villagers, confiscating people’s land and property, in addition to other severe human rights abuses. Such actions have strained the Chin people’s ability to cope with the impacts of the natural disaster. Since the food shortages were first reported by CHRO, efforts have been made to respond to the food crisis. After initially dismissing the situation in Chin State, the WFP conducted a follow-up investigation and eventually acknowledged the existence of food shortages in Chin State. During a recent mission to the area, WFP reported “food consumption *to be+…worse than any other region visited by the Mission.” WFP and their coordinating partners initiated relief programs in early 2009 that continue to be implemented in various affected areas of Chin State. Chin community-based groups in India have also organized relief teams to deliver food aid to remote villages in Chin State. These teams are responsible for delivering over 30,000 kilograms of rice to 54 villages in six townships from May to July 2009 alone. Despite concerted efforts from multiply fronts to assist the affected population, Burma’s military government, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), continues to do nothing to respond to the food crisis in Chin State. Rather, the SPDC has exacerbated the crisis through sustained human rights abuses and economic repression, further undermining the livelihoods and food security of the Chin people. Forced labor, extortion, and confiscations of land and property continue unabated within the affected areas. SPDC has denied repeated requests for food aid, even as it reports a rice surplus. Local authorities have banned villagers from receiving foreign aid, threatening reprisals against anyone who accepts foreign aid. Government neglect and continued abuse; inadequately supported relief efforts; and pervasive hunger and food shortages have the potential for catastrophic humanitarian consequences. The effects of the bamboo flowering and rat infestation are expected to last three to five years. During the last bamboo cycle, half a century ago, 10,000 to 15,000 people reportedly died due to the associated effects of hunger and disease in neighboring Mizoram State. The people of Chin State today struggling with the same natural disaster have the added burden of military repression, abuse, and neglect. They are on the edge of survival now; but their struggle is far from over."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO)
Format/size: pdf (2.38MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs07/On_The_Edge_of_Survival-2.pdf
Date of entry/update: 18 September 2009


Title: Rats and Kyats: Bamboo Flowering Causes a Hunger Belt in Chin State, Burma
Date of publication: 30 July 2008
Description/subject: "The bamboo species Melocanna baccifera blossoms approximately every 48 years. This type of bamboo grows throughout a large area of Northeast India (primarily in Mizoram and Manipur States) as well as regions of Burma (mainly Chin State) and Bangladesh (Hill Tracts.) It densely covers valleys and hillsides in the rugged terrain of the region. The blossoming bamboo produces fruit, then dies off. During the fruiting stage of the cycle, forest rats feed on the bamboo fruits/seeds. Once the population of rats has stripped the forest of bamboo fruit/seeds, rat swarms invade farms and villages to devour crops and stored rice. This phenomenon, known as the Mautam, has historically resulted in mass starvation among indigenous peoples of the region where Melocanna baccifera bamboo grows. While the current Mautam bamboo/rat cycle as it affects Northeast India has been covered by journalists, and food aid is being provided there and in the Bangladesh Hill Tracts, the Mautam crisis across the borders in Burma is less well known. In Burma's Chin State, local groups are attempting to provide aid, but there is not yet a large scale organized relief effort in the Mautam affected areas. The Project Maje resource report, "Rats and Kyats" is intended for journalists, aid workers and other researchers who may become interested in the bamboo/rat cycle as it affects Burma. News stories and documents are reproduced or linked in it, and there is also a links list of background information on the bamboo/rat cycle as it affects Mizoram, Manipur and Bangladesh."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Project Maje
Format/size: html (102K)
Date of entry/update: 30 July 2008


Title: Critical Point - Food Scarcity and Hunger in Burma’s Chin State _ 2008 (Special Reports)
Date of publication: July 2008
Description/subject: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: "The military regime of Burma has been consistent in their inability and unwillingness to protect and provide for the people of Burma. Burma’s human rights record provides testimony of decades of widespread violations and abuses perpetrated largely at the hands of Burma’s military rulers and their agents against the Burmese people. Dissent is regularly silenced and opponents brutalized. In a country once known as the “rice-bowl of Asia,” Burma is now one of the poorest countries of Asia due to steady economic deterioration driven by the regime’s mismanagement. Many in Burma live without access to proper schools, healthcare facilities, reliable electricity, safe drinking water, and stable food supplies. Cowed by policies of extreme oppression and tactics of intimidation, life for much of the population in Burma is a struggle for daily survival. Add to that a natural disaster- and survival in Burma reaches a critical point. Western Burma’s Chin State is at such a point. Since 2006, the region has been plagued by a severe food crisis following a steep reduction in the local harvest and food production. The year 2006 marked the beginning of a new cycle of bamboo flowering, which occurs about every 50 years in the region, triggering an explosion in the population of rats and resulting in the destruction of crops. This has caused a severe shortage of food for local communities primarily dependent on subsistence farming through shifting cultivation. The phenomenon has been documented three times since 1862, and each past event ended in a disastrous famine for the communities in the area. Compounding the impending food crisis in Chin State due to the bamboo flowering is the continuation of severe human rights violations and repressive economic policies of the military regime, which serve to further undermine the livelihoods and food security of the Chin people. The use of unpaid civilian forced labour is widespread throughout Chin State, which consumes the time and energy of local farmers and reduces their crop yields. The regime also forcibly orders farmers to substitute their staple crops for other cash crops, and has confiscated thousands of acres of farmland from local farmers for tea and jatropha plantations. Meanwhile, arbitrary taxes and mandatory “donations” collected from Chin households by the Burmese authorities total up to as much 200,000 Kyats a year in major towns.2 This includes the unofficial collection of money from the Chin public by officials in various government departments at the local level to support such programs as tea and bio-fuel plantations; and extortion and confiscation of money, properties, and livestock by military units stationed at 33 locations across the state. The rising cost of living and skyrocketing food prices is also adding to the already dire humanitarian situation in Chin State. In the last four years, the price of rice has quintupled from 6,000 Kyats a bag in 2004 to as much as 30,000 Kyats today, an amount equivalent to the monthly salary of entry level public servants. The humanitarian consequences stemming from the dying bamboo and exacerbated by conditions imposed by the regime are enormous, and there are clear indications that unless urgent action is taken to address the crisis, the situation could soon turn into a large-scale catastrophe affecting all parts of Chin State. The hardest hit areas are in the southern townships of Matupi and Paletwa where bamboo grows heavily, but reports suggest that severe food shortages are a state-wide phenomenon with many villages in the northern townships of Tonzang and Thantlang, for example, having already run out of food supplies. Based on the latest field surveys conducted in the affected areas, Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) estimates that as many as 200 villages may be directly affected by severe food shortages associated with the bamboo flowering, and no less than 100, 000 people or 20 percent of the entire population of Chin State may be in need of immediate food aid.3 Food scarcity is more severe in remote areas, where families are being reduced to one meal a day or have nothing left to eat at all. CHRO recently visited four border villages in India’s Mizoram State where it found 93 families from 22 villages in Paletwa Township, Chin State who fled across the border in search of food. To date, Burma’s State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) has done nothing positive to counter the food scarcity, nor has the SPDC provided any kind of help to communities affected by the food crisis. Repeated requests by affected communities for food aid were denied, even as 100,000 metric tonnes of rice was exported to Sri Lanka.4 Rather, Burma Army soldiers have seized food aid donated by private donors and church groups.5 In contrast to the situation in Burma, India’s Mizoram and Manipur States, both adjacent to Chin State, are facing a similar food crisis related to the bamboo flowering, and have received millions of dollars in aid from the central government as well as international aid agencies, including USAID of the United States government, to support emergency programs to combat and manage the food crisis.6 In early May, when Cyclone Nargis ripped through lower Burma and the Irrawaddy delta destroying entire regions of land and leaving thousands homeless, hungry, and helpless, the regime clearly demonstrated their complete indifference to the plight of the Burmese people. In response to this natural disaster, they did shamefully little to ease the suffering of the victims and much to hamper relief efforts. As a result, the people of Burma paid a heavy price in the loss of life and continue to struggle under a regime that fails to protect or provide for its people. As another natural disaster unfolds in western Burma without hope of internal protections or provisions, the Chin people, like the cyclone victims, will be sure to pay a heavy toll unless action is taken immediately. The critical point for action is now."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO)
Format/size: pdf (731K, 640K)
Date of entry/update: 09 July 2008


Title: Hunger Wielded as a Weapon in Thaton District
Date of publication: 20 September 2006
Description/subject: "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..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG #2006-B11)
Format/size: pdf (490K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2006/khrg06b11.pdf
Date of entry/update: 21 September 2006


Title: SURVIVING IN SHADOW: Widespread Militarization and the Systematic Use of Forced Labour in the Campaign for Control of Thaton District
Date of publication: 17 January 2006
Description/subject: " This report examines the situation faced by Karen villagers in Thaton District (known as Doo Tha Htoo in Karen). The district lies in what is officially the northern part of Mon State and also encompasses part of Karen State to the west of the Salween River . Successive Burmese regimes have had strong control over the parts of the district to the west of the Rangoon-Martaban road for many years. They were also able to gain 'defacto' control over the eastern part of the district following the fall of the former Karen National Union (KNU) stronghold at Manerplaw in 1995. The Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) is also strong in the district, particularly in the eastern stretches of Pa'an township. Although diminished in recent years, the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), the armed wing of the KNU, is still quite active in the district. The villagers in the district have had to contend with all three of these armed groups. The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) and DKBA demand forced labour, taxes, and extortion money from the villagers while also severely restricting their movements. While the demands for some forms of forced labour such as portering have declined over the past few years, the villagers continue to be regularly called upon by both the SPDC and the DKBA to expand the ever-increasing network of roads throughout the district, as well to fulfil the frequent orders to supply staggering quantities of building materials. A number of new SPDC and DKBA controlled commercial ventures have also appeared in the district in recent years, to which the villagers are also forced to 'contribute' their labour. In 2000, the SPDC confiscated 5,000 acres of land for use as an immense sugarcane plantation, while more recently in late 2004, the SPDC again confiscated another 5,000 acres of the villagers' farmland, all of which is to become a huge rubber plantation, co-owed and operated by Rangoon-based company Max Myanmar. In addition, the villagers are punished for any perceived support for the KNLA or KNU. All such systems of control greatly impoverish the villagers, to the extent that now many of them struggle just to survive. Most villagers have few options but to try to live as best they can. SPDC control of the district is too tight for the villagers to live in hiding in the forest and Thailand is too far for most villagers to flee to. The villagers are forced to answer the demands of the SPDC and DKBA, of which there are many, while trying to avoid punishment for any supposed support of the resistance. They have to balance this with trying to find enough time to work in their fields and find enough food to feed their families. This report provides a detailed analysis of the human rights situation in Thaton District from 2000 to the present. It is based on 216 interviews conducted by KHRG researchers with people in SPDC-controlled villages, in hill villages, in hiding in the forest and with those who have fled to Thailand to become refugees. These interviews are supplemented by SPDC and DKBA order documents selected from the hundreds we have obtained from the area, along with field reports, maps, and photographs taken by KHRG field researchers. All of the interviews were conducted between November 1999 and November 2004. A number of field reports dated up until June 2005 have also been included. The report begins with an Introduction and Executive Summary. The detailed analysis that follows has been broken down into ten main sections. The villagers tell most of the story in the main sections through direct quotes taken from recorded interviews. The full text of the interviews and the field reports upon which this report is based are available from KHRG upon approved request."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2006/khrg0601a.htm
Date of entry/update: 28 January 2006


Title: Deserted Fields: The destruction of agriculture in Mong Nai Township, Shan State
Date of publication: January 2006
Description/subject: Summary: "Wrong-headed agricultural and development policies, counter-insurgency activities, as well as corruption and cronyism by the Burmese military regime, have all caused a dramatic decrease in rice production and food security in southern Shan State over the past ten years. The township of Mong Nai provides a good example of how food security, commonly defined as the physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food at all times, has been put in a precarious condition despite the regime’s claims that it is achieving self-sufficiency and agricultural development. In the past Mong Nai was well known for its fertile land and abundant production of quality rice. Even though people could not make much income from their crops, they had enough to survive. Since 1994, however, a series of national policies and initiatives have led to a decline in rice production, the abandonment of fertile fields, and the exodus of thousands of residents to neighbouring Thailand. In order to implement its national rice procurement policy, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) set up a paddy (unmilled rice) buying center in the town of Mong Nai in 1994. Farmers were forced to sell rice to the regime at depressed prices (about one quarter of the normal market price) based on the acreage of land they customarily tended and regardless of actual crop yields. This center, and how its quota system was implemented, disrupted farmers’ access to their own rice harvests and drove many into debt. The SPDC proudly announced the abolishment of this system and the opening of a market-oriented economy in 2003. However, new practices have been able to ensure that the military maintains its own stores of rice at the expense of local populations. agriculture, and led to decreased rice production and food security in the township. The amount of rice fields under cultivation has decreased by approximately 56% since 1994 while the population has decreased by approximately 30%. The drastic decrease in upland agriculture has practically wiped out the cultivation of sesame and the subsequent production of sesame oil in the township, while a wide variety of beans, fruits, and other vegetables are also not cultivated. Restrictions on trade and travel have made foodstuffs harder to get and more expensive. Contrary to the regime’s claims, Burma is not on the road to self-sufficiency and food security."... Table of Contents: Summary.2; Background 4; Food and Agriculture Situation Before 1994 5; Rice Procurement Policy/the Quota System 6; Forced Relocation 7; Map 1: Rice Cultivation and Villages in 1994 8; Map 2: Rice Culitvation, Remaining Villages and Confiscated Lands in 2005 9; Land Confiscation 10; Restricted Movement 12; Trading Restrictions 13; Forced Planting of Summer Paddy 13; Conclusion: The Situation Today 15... Appendix 1: Decrease in Rice Production in Mong Nai Township 1994-2005 16.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Shan Relief and Development Committee (SRDC)
Format/size: pdf (204K)
Date of entry/update: 18 January 2006


Title: Nyaunglebin District: Food supplies destroyed, villagers forcibly displaced, and region-wide forced labour as SPDC forces seek control over civilians
Date of publication: 04 May 2005
Description/subject: "Between October 2004 and January 2005 SPDC troops launched forays into the hills of Nyaunglebin District in an attempt to flush villagers down into the plains and a life under SPDC control. Viciously timed to coincide with the rice harvest, the campaign focused on burning crops and landmining the fields to starve out the villagers. Most people fled into the forest, where they now face food shortages and uncertainty about this year's planting and the security of their villages. Meanwhile in the plains, the SPDC is using people in relocation sites and villages they control as forced labour to strengthen the network of roads and Army camps - the main tools of military control over the civilian population - while Army officers plunder people's belongings for personal gain. In both hills and plains, increased militarisation is bringing on food shortages and poverty..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG #2005-F4)
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2005/khrg05f4.html
Date of entry/update: 23 May 2005


Title: Pa'an District: Food Security in Crisis for Civilians in Rural Areas
Date of publication: 30 March 2005
Description/subject: Released on March 30, 2005... This bulletin examines the factors causing many villagers in Pa'an district to say that they now face a deepening food and money shortage crisis which is threatening their health and survival. Based on villagers' testimony, the main factors appear to be recurring forced labour for both SPDC and DKBA authorities, made worse in some areas by orders for farmers to double-crop on their land and the encroachment of new SPDC military bases on villages and farmland.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG #2005-B3)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 23 May 2005


Title: Enduring Hunger and Repression: : Food Scarcity, Internal Displacement, and the Continued Use of Forced Labour in Toungoo District
Date of publication: September 2004
Description/subject: "This report describes the current situation faced by rural Karen villagers in Toungoo District (known as Taw Oo in Karen). Toungoo District is the northernmost district of Karen State, sharing borders with Karenni (Kayah) State to the east, Pegu (Bago) Division to the west, and Shan State to the north. To the south Toungoo District shares borders with the Karen districts of Nyaunglebin (Kler Lweh Htoo) and Papun (Mutraw). The westernmost portion of the district bordering Pegu Division consists of the plains of the Sittaung River, which are heavily controlled by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) military junta which presently rules Burma. The rest of the district to the east is covered by steep and forested hills that are home to Karen villagers who live in small villages strewn across the hills. For years, the SPDC has endeavoured to extend its control through the hills, but their efforts thus far have been hampered by the continued armed resistance of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA). Within the areas that are strongly controlled by the SPDC, the villagers must live with constant demands for forced labour, food, and money from the SPDC battalions that are based in the area. Villages that do not comply with SPDC demands risk being relocated and burned. Many villages have been burned and their inhabitants forcibly relocated to sites where the SPDC may more easily control and exploit them. Those villagers who do not move to the relocation sites flee into the jungles where they live as internally displaced persons (IDPs). Several thousand villagers now live internally displaced in the mountains of Toungoo District. These villagers live in almost constant fear of SPDC Army units, and must run for their lives if they receive word that a column of soldiers is approaching. SPDC Army columns routinely shoot displaced villagers on sight. The villagers here continue to suffer severe human rights violations at the hands of the SPDC Army soldiers, including, but not limited to summary arrest, torture, forced labour, extortion, extrajudicial execution, and the systematic destruction of crops and food supplies. Although a verbal ceasefire is in place between the Karen National Union (KNU) and the SPDC, not much has changed for the villagers in the district. KNLA and SPDC military units still occasionally clash. The SPDC has taken advantage of the ceasefire to move more troops into the area and to build new camps. These new camps and troops have meant that the villagers now have to do forced labour building the new camps and portering supplies up to the camps. There are also more troops and camps to demand food and money from the villagers. The many new camps have made it more difficult for internally displaced villagers work their fields or to go to find food..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Format/size: pdf (9.5MB), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2004/khrg0401a.html
http://www.khrg.org/khrg2004/khrg0401.pdf
Date of entry/update: 16 November 2004


Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2002-03: Deprivation of Livelihood
Date of publication: October 2003
Description/subject: "Throughout 2002 the majority of people in Burma continued to be engaged in an increasingly desperate and constant struggle to meet basic needs as they watched their living standards steadily deteriorate. Due to misguided economic policies, rampant corruption, cronyism and a disproportionate amount of the budget spent on the army, Burma’s economy has been in a state of decline since the 1962 military coup. At the time of independence Burma was known as ‘the rice bowl of Asia,’ but today one in three children is malnourished. There is a clear link between the misuse of government funds and power and the poor living standards of the population of Burma. According to a report released by the Asian Legal Resource Centre entitled The Right to Food, researcher Angela Wong comments on the following: "On the indivisibility of rights, Sen argues that "no substantial famine has ever occurred in any independent and democratic country with a relatively free press". There is a clear and unequivocal link between type of governance and famine." (Source: Wong, Angela, The Right to Food, Asian Legal Resource Centre, 2003.)..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit of the NCGUB
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 10 November 2003


Title: RECLAIMING THE RIGHT TO RICE: FOOD SECURITY AND INTERNAL DISPLACEMENT IN EASTERN BURMA
Date of publication: October 2003
Description/subject: TABLE OF CONTENTS:- 1. Food Security from a Rights-based Perspective; 2. Local Observations from the States and Divisions of Eastern Burma:- 2.1 Tenasserim Division (Committee for Internally Displaced Karen Persons); 2.2 Mon State (Mon Relief and Development Committee); 2.3 Karen State (Karen Human Rights Group) 2.4 Eastern Pegu Division (Karen Office of Relief and Development); 2.5 Karenni State (Karenni Social Welfare Committee); 2.6 Shan State (Shan Human Rights Foundation)... 3. Local Observations of Issues Related to Food Security:- 3.1 Crop Destruction as a Weapon of War (Committee for Internally Displaced Karen Persons); 3.2 Border Areas Development (Karen Environmental & Social Action Network); 3.3 Agricultural Management(Burma Issues); 3.4 Land Management (Independent Mon News Agency) 3.5 Nutritional Impact of Internal Displacement (Backpack Health Workers Team); 3.6 Gender-based Perspectives (Karen Women’s Organisation)... 4. Field Surveys on Internal Displacement and Food Security... Appendix 1 : Burma’s International Obligations and Commitments... Appendix 2 : Burma’s National Legal Framework... Appendix 3 : Acronyms, Measurements and Currencies.... "...Linkages between militarisation and food scarcity in Burma were established by civilian testimonies from ten out of the fourteen states and divisions to a People’s Tribunal in the late 1990s. Since then the scale of internal displacement has dramatically increased, with the population in eastern Burma during 2002 having been estimated at 633,000 people, of whom approximately 268,000 were in hiding and the rest were interned in relocation sites. This report attempts to complement these earlier assessments by appraising the current relationship between food security and internal displacement in eastern Burma. It is hoped that these contributions will, amongst other impacts, assist the Asian Human Rights Commission’s Permanent People’s Tribunal to promote the right to food and rule of law in Burma... Personal observations and field surveys by community-based organisations in eastern Burma suggest that a vicious cycle linking the deprivation of food security with internal displacement has intensified. Compulsory paddy procurement, land confiscation, the Border Areas Development program and spiraling inflation have induced displacement of the rural poor away from state-controlled areas. In war zones, however, the state continues to destroy and confiscate food supplies in order to force displaced villagers back into state-controlled areas. An image emerges of a highly vulnerable and frequently displaced rural population, who remain extremely resilient in order to survive based on their local knowledge and social networks. Findings from the observations and field surveys include the following:..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burmese Border Consortium
Format/size: pdf (804K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/BBC-Reclaiming_the_Right_to_Rice.pdf
Date of entry/update: 07 November 2003


Title: Hunger still rampant in Burma
Date of publication: 09 May 2003
Description/subject: Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission - AHRC "Burma is a fertile country with abundant resources. In years gone by it was said that nobody ever starves in Burma. This has long ceased to be the case. Empirical evidence suggests that every day millions of people there go hungry, hundreds of thousands are seriously malnourished, and that some are indeed starving. This May, with the launch of the Permanent People's Tribunal on the Right to Food and the Rule of Law in Asia, attention has again been brought to the role of the military government in Burma in denying people the right to food. Extensive research by the secretariat of the new Tribunal suggests that conditions there have not improved since the report of the earlier People's Tribunal on Food Scarcity and Militarization in Burma (Voice of the Hungry Nation, October 1999)..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Permanent People�s Tribunal on the Right to Food and the Rule of Law in Asia
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 29 November 2010


Title: CHR 2003: Myanmar: Thousands of people are displaced and starving
Date of publication: 07 April 2003
Description/subject: Commission on Human Rights 59th Session Item 10: Economic, social and cultural rights "... It is in the remote parts of Myanmar that the worst abuses of the right to food continue. Within recent weeks, the Asian Legal Resource Centre has spoken with persons travelling in some of these areas. They have told of thousands of people displaced from their lands, some for years, starving in the jungle. One who carried an emaciated child to a Thai town just across the border spoke of the utter shock and disbelief among medical staff at the childs condition..."
Author/creator: Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations
Format/size: html (13K)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: CHR 2003: Policies of food deprivation in Myanmar
Date of publication: 07 April 2003
Description/subject: Item 10: Economic, social and cultural rights. "...Anti-Slavery International would like to inform the Commission that deprivation of civil and political rights in Myanmar also results in denial of economic, social and cultural rights. The Rohingya Muslims in Northern Arakan State are the worst affected. They are discriminated against on the basis of race and religion and are denied citizenship rights. A policy of severe restrictions of their movement aims at containing them, and food insecurity is deliberately created to induce flight to Bangladesh. Policies of exclusion become policies of expulsion through food deprivation..."
Author/creator: Anti-Slavery International
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations
Format/size: html (20K)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: CHR 2003: Food scarcity in Myanmar
Date of publication: 10 March 2003
Description/subject: "The right to food of people in the Union of Myanmar continues to be denied by the military government in that country. During the last year the Asian Legal Resource Centre has increasingly received credible and disturbing reports of serious food shortages throughout Myanmar, both directly and indirectly linked to government practices implemented to ensure perpetuation of its undemocratic rule..."
Author/creator: Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations (E/CN.4/2003/NGO/84)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2001-2002: Deprivation of Livelihood
Date of publication: September 2002
Description/subject: "The majority of people in Burma are engaged in a constant struggle to meet basic needs as they watch their living standards steadily deteriorate. Due to misguided economic policies, rampant corruption and cronyism, and a disproportionate amount of the budget spent on the army, Burmas economy has been in a state of decline since the 1962 military coup. At the time of independence Burma was known as the rice bowl of Asia, but today one in three children is malnourished. On 21 March 2001 the SPDC UN representative, speaking about the national economy reported that: A growth rate of over 10% has been registered in the current year 2000-2001. However outside analysis is much less optimistic about Burmas economic future. In a report released in April 2001, the Asia Development Bank (ABD) stated that economic growth in Burma had been lethargic, and was likely to remain so until key structural reforms were implemented. In November 2001 the ABD released another report expressing doubts as to the validity of economic data gathered by the regime, stating that official statistics are: of variable quality and are sometimes incomplete...."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit of the NCGUB
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: CHR 2002: Food scarcity in Myanmar
Date of publication: 31 January 2002
Description/subject: Written statement submitted by the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC). "The right to food is a fundamental human right, guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [article 25(1)] and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (article 11). Notwithstanding, the right to food of people in the Union of Myanmar has been submerged by the military domination of that country. Substantial evidence suggests that the Government of Myanmar is systematically denying food to the civilian population through a range of practices implemented to ensure perpetuation of its undemocratic rule..."
Author/creator: Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations (E/CN.4/2002/NGO/66)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: CHR 2002: Report by the Special Rapporteur on the right to food (extracts on Myanmar)
Date of publication: 10 January 2002
Description/subject: Commission on Human Rights. Fifty-eighth session
Author/creator: Mr. Jean Ziegler
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations (E/CN.4/2002/58)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2000: Deprivation of Livelihood
Date of publication: October 2001
Description/subject: "...The majority of people living in Burma are faced with economic difficulty and food scarcity and struggle daily to meet minimum survival needs. This impoverishment has been caused and exacerbated largely by policies and actions of the military regime..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: NCGUB Human Rights Documentation Unit of the NCGUB
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: Main page of the Yearbook: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/yearbooks/Main.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Peace Villages and Hiding Villages: Roads, Relocations, and the Campaign for Control in Toungoo District
Date of publication: 15 October 2000
Description/subject: Roads, Relocations, and the Campaign for Control in Toungoo District. Based on interviews and field reports from KHRG field researchers in this northern Karen district, looks at the phenomenon of 'Peace Villages' under SPDC control and 'Hiding Villages' in the hills; while the 'Hiding Villages' are being systematically destroyed and their villagers hunted and captured, the 'Peace Villages' face so many demands for forced labour and extortion that many ofthem are fleeing to the hills. Looks at forced labour road construction and its relation to increasing SPDC militarisation of the area, and also at the new tourism development project at Than Daung Gyi which involves large-scale land confiscation and forced labour. Keywords: Karen; KNU; KNLA; SPDC deserters; Sa Thon Lon activities; human minesweepers; human shields; reprisals against villagers; abuse of village heads; SPDC army units; military situation; forced relocation; strategic hamletting; relocation sites; internal displacement; IDPs; cross-border assistance; forced labour; torture; killings; extortion, economic oppression; looting; pillaging; burning of villages; destruction of crops and food stocks; forced labour on road projects; road building; restrictions on movment; lack of education and health services; tourism project; confiscation of land and forced labour for tourism project;landmines; malnutrition; starvation; SPDC Orders. ... ADDITIONAL KEYWORDS: forced resettlement, forced relocation, forced movement, forced displacement, forced migration, forced to move, displaced
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group Regional & Thematic Reports (KHRG #2000-05)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Voice of the Hungry Nation
Date of publication: October 1999
Description/subject: This document presents the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the People's Tribunal on Food Scarcity and Militarization in Burma. The Tribunal’s work will appeal to all readers interested in human rights and social justice, as well as anyone with a particular interest in Burma. The Asian Human Rights Commission presents this report in order to stimulate discourse on human rights and democratization in Burma and around the world.
Language: English
Source/publisher: People's Tribunal on Food Scarcity and Militarization in Burma
Format/size: English version
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmadebate.org/archives/fall99bttm.html#hungry
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Voice of the Hungry Nation
Date of publication: September 1999
Description/subject: an edited version of a report by the People's Tribunal on Food Scarcity and Militarization in Burma, which was published by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) in October 1999.
Author/creator: People
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Burma Debate", Vol. VI, No. 3
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmadebate.org/archives/fall99bttm.html#hungry
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Voice of the Hungry Nation
Date of publication: 1999
Description/subject: Burmese version
Language: Burmese
Source/publisher: People's Tribunal on Food Scarcity and Militarization in Burma
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmaguide.net/res-en/BIG19_41_en/BIG_resource_view?b_start:int=30&-C=
http://www.google.co.th/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CBQQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ahrchk.net%2Fpu...
http://www.foodjustice.net/burma/1996-2000tribunal/burmese/index.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 1994: 12 - Deprivation of Livelihood
Date of publication: September 1995
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit of the NCGUB
Format/size: html (113K)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003