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Members of the Shan Ethnic Affairs Organisation (SEAO) met with the new United Nations human rights rapporteur on Burma, Yanghee Lee, during her visit to Kachin State on 23 July when they presented her with details of alleged human rights violations in the northern Burmese region.
Sai Htein Lin, liaison coordinator of the SEAO, said, “We mainly want to highlight the plight of the ethnic Shan population who are caught in the crossfire between Burmese government forces and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). We urge the UN to address this issue.”
He said small-time business people, such as local noodle-makers, were extorted to the sum of 200,000 kyat (US$200) each by the KIA, which also kidnapped two youths in Mansi Township for the purposes of forced recruitment.
The SEAO said Shan villages have been subject to harassment and human rights violations by the KIA for many years. It said it has documented more than 70 people who were forcibly recruited in 2014 alone and who are yet to be released despite the group’s promise to the SEAO.
Sai Htein Linn said that Lee promised to include this information in her human rights report.
Lee’s delegation will meet on Friday in Naypyidaw with government ministers, parliament speakers, the Union Election Commission, the Attorney General and constitutional court members.
The new UN rapporteur is due to hold a press conference at Rangoon airport on Saturday, when she is expected to address issues of human rights violations across the country.