In this interview with Baroness Cox you get a feel for the absolute hell the people of Burma must endure under the force of the “State Peace and Development Council” the name the military junta took on during it’s take over of the country from the National League for Democracy fifteen years ago:
Genocide is a word I have felt obliged to use in the House of Lords after seeing village after village bombed and the systematic violation of human rights during the dozen visits I have made.
Last week’s television interviews with Karenni survivors of a recent alleged chemical weapons attack were compelling evidence of the regime’s brutality. These reinforced an investigation by my colleague, Dr Martin Panter, an Australian, who examined patients who had vomited blood and experienced blistering skin and pulmonary problems.
The catalogue of human rights abuses includes the shelling of civilians and using villagers as forced labour. Even elderly people have been forced to carry heavy loads of rice and ammunition from dawn until dusk. If they fall by the wayside they are beaten, kicked and sometimes left for dead. Civilians are used as human minesweepers, forced to walk ahead of soldiers.
Since 1996 more than 2,500 villages in eastern Burma have been destroyed and more than 1 million people displaced. They have either been sent to relocation camps where conditions are little better than death camps, forced to hide in the jungle and scavenge for their existence, or have fled to camps on the Thai-Burma border.
Baroness Cox has been a voice for the oppressed for many years. She has been the deputy speaker of the British House of Lords since 1985 and is a tireless and powerful campaigner for human rights both in the House of Lords and also in the media.