Burma (Myanmar) 28/01/2016 12:30
The two women, 20-year-old Maran Lu Ra and 21-year-old Tangbau Hkawn Na Tsin, had gone to work as volunteer teachers for rural village children in Shabuk-Kaunghka, in northern Shan state. But on 19 January 2015, they were raped and killed.
A report entitled “Justice delayed, justice denied” was released by the Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand and the Legal Aid Network one year after their deaths. It singles out a Burmese Army commanding officer as responsible for preventing investigation into the murders.
“The government’s priorities were clear in the [Shabuk-Kaughka] case – protect the military at all costs,” said Moon Nay Li, the association’s general secretary. According to Asia-based UCAN news agency, the Burmese Army told local media last January not to associate soldiers with the attack.
The Kachin are a mainly-Christian ethnic group. In fact, most of Burma’s Christians are from non-Burman ethnic groups: ethnic Chin are also mainly Christian, and many ethnic Karen people too. Christians who live in the ethnic states are frequently oppressed by the Burmese military, partly because of their ethnicity and in part because of their faith.
The Kachin state is also strategically important in that it lies between India and China and is rich in resources including gold and jade mines, teakwood, rubber, and banana plantations.
The 135 recognised non-Burman ethnic groups make up approximately 40% of the country’s population and live mainly in the states that border neighbouring Thailand, Laos, China, India and Bangladesh. These resource-rich areas have long been conflict zones and hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced from their homes in these areas and live as internally displaced persons (IDPs).
Over 200,000 Kachin have been displaced since June 2011, when renewed violence broke out after a 17-year ceasefire, and many of them live in camps. Barnabas Fund has assisted them with emergency food aid, school materials, basic living supplies, shoes and raincoats for children, and Bibles in the Kachin language.