Authorities in Myanmar’s commercial capital Yangon on Monday prevented an ethnic women’s organization from holding a press conference on a report detailing abuses against civilians committed by the government army in restive northern Shan state, a member of the group said.
The report entitled “Trained to Kill” is based on interviews with more than 100 local ethnic Palaung residents where clashes occurred between March 2011 and March 2016 and chronicles the torture they endured by the Myanmar military, said Ma De De Poe Sao, a member of the Ta’ang Women’s Organization (TWO).
“The report contains information about human rights violations by the military in northern Shan State, which we collected between 2011 and 2016,” she said.
TWO will submit the report to office of President Htin Kyaw and to the upper and lower houses of the National Assembly, she said.
“The Yangon regional government didn’t give us permission to hold the press conference,” Ma De De Poe Sao said. “It seems the [Excel Treasure] hotel is not obligated to hold it.”
TWO originally scheduled the press conference for June 24 at the Orchid Hotel in Yangon, but local government authorities told the hotel’s management to cancel the event because the hotel had not received permission to hold it, the online journal The Irrawaddy reported.
The Ta’ang ethnic minority, also known as the Palaung, live mainly in northern Shan State, where the armed ethnic group the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) has engaged in hostilities with the Myanmar military and the Shan rebel group, the Shan State Army-South (SSA-S), in recent months.
The fighting, which began in late November but flared up again earlier this year, has displaced thousands of people.
The TNLA and SSA-S have also been accused of human rights violations in Shan state, including kidnapping, torturing, and killing civilians, The Irrawaddy report said.
The SSA and its political branch the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) is one of the eight armed ethnic groups that signed the government’s nationwide cease-fire agreement (NCA) last October.
The TNLA, which was not invited to sign the NCA, has accused the government army of supporting the RCSS/SSA in the recent clashes, though the Shan rebels have denied the claim.
Reported by Wai Mar Tun for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.