Statement on Extrajudicial Killings and Illegal Detentions of Palaung and Shan peoples of Myanmar

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    A corpse lies in a shallow grave in Long Mon village of Mong Yaw subtownship in Myanmar's northern Shan state, June 30, 2016. RFA

    The IPMSDL strongly condemns the brutal extrajudicial killings of seven indigenous peoples from the Palaung and Shan peoples of Shan State in Myanmar.

    The Palaung and Shan peoples are two of the several indigenous peoples fighting for their right to self determination in Myanmar. For decades the Palaung and Shan peoples have faced encroachment of their lands by the Myanmar government. Heavy militarization has led to increasing number of indigenous rights violations and extrajudicial killings. Many of the Palaung and Shan people were forced to leave their homes for fear of further violations by the Myanmar military. The Palaung and Shan peoples have been fighting for their right to self determination for several years now, with many of them joining the armed liberation movements.

    On 25 June 2016, six women and five men were detained illegally by members of the Myanmar military after fighting erupted between the military and the armed indigenous liberation groups near the town of Lashio. Those who were detained were repeatedly asked questions by the military if they had seen any “rebels” in the area, or if they themselves know any rebels.

    Later all six women and three of the men were separated from the remaining men and released by the military after continued threats to their lives. A few hours after their release, gunshots were heard. The three men who were left were later found dead along with four other individuals five days later in a shallow grave near Lashio with their hands tied behind their backs.

    This is a blatant disregard by State agents of the right to life of individuals from the Palaung and Shan people. The only conceivable “sin” of the Palaung ang Shan peoples is exercising their right to self determination which recognizes armed struggle as a legitimate form of assertion of self determination.

    Villagers watch while corpses are removed from shallow graves in Long Mon village of Mong Yaw subtownship in Myanmar's northern Shan state, June 30, 2016. Credit: RFA
    Villagers watch while corpses are removed from shallow graves in Long Mon village of Mong Yaw subtownship in Myanmar’s northern Shan state, June 30, 2016. Credit: RFA

    The IPMSDL calls on the Myanmar government to:

    1. Immediately investigate the cases of extrajudicial killings and illegal detentions that were allegedly perpetrated by the Myanmar military.
    2. Prosecute to the full extent of the law those responsible for the extrajudicial killings and illegal detentions of the Palaung and Shan people
    3. Cease all forms of harassment against indigenous peoples of Myanmar
    4. Stop all forms of militarization of indigenous peoples communities in Myanmar.

    The IPMSDL also calls on the ASEAN Inter-governmental Human Rights Commission and the United Nations to:

    1. Immediately look into the continuing violation of the rights of Indigenous Peoples in Myanmar
    2. Ensure that member-states respect the rights of indigenous as well as non-indigenous peoples.

    Reference:
    Ms. Beverly Longid
    IPMSDL Global Coordinator

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