Alternative Asean Network on Burma
campaigns, advocacy and capacity-building for human rights


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The Tatmadaw’s four-year war in Kachin and Shan States has escalated. From September 2014 through February 2015, Tatmadaw troops clashed with ethnic armed groups, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), the Shan State Army – South (SSA-S), and the Shan State Army – North (SSA-N), at least 110 times.

In February, the Tatmadaw launched a new offensive against the Kokang, using ground and air attacks. This is the first offensive in the area since the SPDC army attacked the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) in the 2009 ‘Kokang Incident.’

The Tatmadaw continued to attack and fire on civilian targets as part of its offensive, and restricted aid to IDPs in KIA-controlled areas. Tatmadaw troops committed human rights abuses against civilians with impunity, including acts of sexual violence against women.

The Tatmadaw’s continued attacks in ethnic areas, particularly on civilians, has seriously undermined the peace process, with ethnic armed groups refusing to sign the nationwide ceasefire agreement until the regime gives them political guarantees.

President Thein Sein failed to keep his promise to release all political prisoners by the end of 2013. Authorities continue to use repressive laws to arrest and prosecute activists, farmers, and human rights defenders, including those opposing land confiscation. The trend of rising arrests in 2014 continued into 2015: At the end of January 2015, there were 159 political prisoners incarcerated in Burma, with 213 activists awaiting trial for political actions.

The persecution of journalists continues. The regime sentenced more media workers to prison terms in 2014 for publishing ‘undesirable’ material. Tatmadaw soldiers detained and killed freelance journalist Aung Kyaw Naing (aka Par Gyi), who was covering an outbreak of fighting in Mon State.