HART Thailand-Burma Borderlands Visit Report – May 2016

31 May 2016

HART visited our partners and other civil society organisations working in Shan, Kachin, Karen and Karenni states in Burma and with refugees in Thailand in May 2016.

Download our full visit report below.


  • Fighting continues in Shan, Kachin and Rakhine states. The Burma Army have used airstrikes against civilians in May this year and also during the 2015 Elections.
  • 20,000 Kokang refugees have been unable to return to their homes due to ongoing Burma Army presence and human rights abuses including rapes, beheadings and disappearances. Social media is being used as a tool to spread hate speech against the Kokang people who are Han-Chinese ethnicity. The Kokang do not have proper ID cards.
  • During the elections, violence by the Burma Army meant that 200,000 people in central Shan State could not vote. This had significant impact on the results and the Shan people are under-represented even at state-level politics.
  • Civil society organisations are struggling to continue their essential operations to help the ethnic national peoples as international donors are shifting their funding away from these groups in favour of funding the peace process. The Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement that was signed in October last year was only signed by half of the ethnic national groups, which is evidence that it is not inclusive. Ceasefires have not been accompanied by a withdrawal of Burma Army troops.
  • Large-scale investment projects, including hydroelectric dams and mining sites, are progressing in conflict areas of Shan and Kachin States without appropriate social and environmental impact assessments or consultation with local people. Representatives with whom we met suggested that these projects should cease until ethnic national peoples have political representation which they believe can only be achieved through federalism.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy, took office on 30th March 2016. While it is too soon to say how they will perform, the civil society representatives that we met with had concerns that they have not yet spoken out about the plight of the ethnic nationals or women in Burma.
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