Sunday, September 14, 2008

FBR: Famine, Forced Labor and Extortion. Arakan Update

FBR REPORT: Famine, Forced Labor and Extortion. Arakan Update
Akrakan State, Burma
September, 2008


Hungry Boy in Arakan State

Famine Hits Villagers in Arakan State

The Arakan FBR team has reported widespread famine in this area of western Burma. The price of rice in Arakan State has jumped from 140 to 870 kyats per kilogram in the last year. This is partly due to widespread destruction of crops in the last year from an influx of rats. Schools have had to shut down and farmers have been forced to abandon their failed farms to search for food. Thousands of people are starving.

Burma Army Takes Villagers' Land and Forces Them to Work

Despite the famine, Burma Army troops continue to force the villagers to work for them. LIBs 538, 232, and 289 are on duty in this area of western Burma, and force villagers to carry their rations and personal belongings, as well as being messengers and cooks for army operations. Burma Army troop activity is currently focused on attacking and eliminating the Arakan Liberation Army in the area of the Kaladam River; this is to prepare for a five-year joint highway project that was recently agreed on with India. The villagers in this area have been alerted that they will be forced to work on this project.

The Burma Army has also moved several of its bases, not only annexing villagers' property to do so, but also exploiting villager labor to build the new bases. The regime has also annexed large portions of land for agricultural projects, displacing thousands of farmers. If the local farmers want to farm, they have to rent the land back. Many of these people have now become refugees and IDPs.

Arakan team provides medical care

IDP shelters in Arakan State




The Free Burma Ranger’s (FBR) mission is to provide hope, help and love to internally displaced people inside Burma, regardless of ethnicity or religion. Using a network of indigenous field teams, FBR reports on human rights abuses, casualties and the humanitarian needs of people who are under the oppression of the Burma Army. FBR provides medical, spiritual and educational resources for IDP communities as they struggle to survive Burmese military attacks.

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