KNU Concerned Group Calls for Intl Investigation Into Murder of Karen Woman

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

The KNU Concerned Group (KCG) has called for an international investigation into the killing of an ethnic Karen woman by Burma Army troops in Mutraw District, Karen State.

Two soldiers from the Burma Army’s LIB 409 under MOC 8 shot Naw Mu Naw, who lived in Poe Loe Hta village in Dwelo Township on July 16, then stole her gold jewelry, the KCG said in a July 20 statement.

“We demand justice and truth. The army killed an innocent civilian. To get the truth and stop further killing, we demand Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch investigate this murder case,” Padoh Naw Zipporah Sein, a KNC leader and former deputy chairperson of Karen National Union (KNU), told NMG.

She described the murder of Naw Mu Naw.

“The army’s soldiers went to the village. The Karen woman had a shop at her house. Two soldiers demanded that she give them an empty rice bag. She replied that she didn’t have any empty rice bags. While she was looking for something in her shop, one of the two soldiers shot her. She had gunshot injuries to her face, mouth and chest. She died on the spot,” Padoh Naw Zipporah Sein explained.

At the time of reporting, the office of the commander-in-chief of the Burmese military and its True News Information Team had not reported any information about the Naw Mu Naw’s death.

The KCG statement accused the Burma Army of torturing, beating, raping and killing civilians and stealing their property, and asked international rights groups to carry out an investigation into this most recent crime so that action might be taken against perpetrators in order to stop further human rights abuses.

These abuses are not limited to Karen State, and have also occurred in Shan, Kachin and Rakhine states this year, the KCG statement said, emphasizing that there is little security particularly for women in conflict areas. The group also pointed to the inability of Burma’s domestic justice system to stop the military from committing such crimes.

“What we want is for international human rights organizations to investigate the murder and collect data, then these organizations can report the case to the UN and Burmese government. Human rights abuses committed by the Burma Army have already been reported to the ICJ and ICC. Therefore, we need to report this case,” Padoh Naw Zipporah Sein told NMG.

The KCG urged Karen armed organizations, political parties, civil society, and the Karen public to participate in demanding truth and justice.

The KCG was formed in 2017 by former central committee members of the KNU and other Karen individuals.

Mutraw District, where the murder occurred, is known in Burmese as Hpapun. While Mutraw is a stronghold of the KNU’s Brigade 5, and a historically Karen territory, there are a number of Burma Army outposts in the region, and increasing militarization by government troops has led to frequent clashes and high tension.