Report on the Human Rights Situation in Burma (April – September 2012)

Over the period of this report, the political landscape in Burma has undergone noticeable shifts. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, once a political prisoner under house arrest, recently returned from a whirlwind tour of the United States where she received the Congres- sional Gold Medal, America’s highest civilian honour. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and members of the U.S. Congress touted her cooperation with Burmese President Thein Sein, who visited the United Nations in New York City. The trip, at the urging of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, also resulted in the further easing of sanctions on the Burmese gov- ernment, including an end to the crippling ban on imports.

Simultaneously, human rights violations persist throughout the country. Deadly civil war in ethnic areas, forced labour, child sol- diers, torture and ill treatment remain grave concerns. Additionally, this report will emphasize the rampant land confiscation and forced relocation by the Burmese government. Recent events, including the arrests and beatings of farmers protesting the forced relocation of landowners from 66 villages for the Latpadaung copper mine,1 underline the on-going human rights violations by the Burmese government.