Beasts of burden

The forcible conscription of civilians as army porters is rife in Burma’s volatile ethnic regions, and appears to have been stepped up as Burmese troops battle a coaltion of Karen armies close to the Thai border. Often treated like animals, civilians are also known to have been used as minesweepers, forced to walk in front of patrols to ensure troops don’t take the full blast of a landmine – a tactic that qualifies as a war crime.

The Free Burma Rangers provides medical aid to victims of Burma’s protracted civil war and documents atrocities carried out by the Burmese army against ethnic minority groups. This collection of images gives an up-close study of the by-products of life under military rule in areas where international media rarely penetrates.

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