“We Dare Not Return”

Displacement and the Denial of Human Rights in Southeastern Burma

On 7 February 2021, the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) began documenting the escalation of atrocities committed by the military junta following a failed coup attempt on 1 February 2021. Over the last two years, the expansion of Burma Army soldiers, particularly in ethnic areas, has caused widespread displacement. Innocent civilians have been injured, killed and routinely forced to flee their villages as soldiers target them. The systematic and widespread assaults perpetrated by the junta-backed forces are ongoing.

HURFOM has observed no signs of the military easing its attacks. State-backed armed forces have instead continued to spearhead their campaign of terror, including the perpetration of illegal, inhumane acts. Among the many human rights violations we have documented are arbitrary arrests, indiscriminate firing and shelling, enforced disappearances, murder and torture. A lack of reliable domestic accountability measures has allowed the Burma Army to evade responsibility for their crimes. No one in Burma feels safe under the current circumstances. This is due to the significant curtailing of fundamental human rights, democratic norms and freedoms.

Deeply ingrained military impunity has shielded the junta soldiers from accountability as they burn homes, raid villages, and violently detain innocent people. A flawed military-drafted Constitution protects the Burma Army as the highest authority, paying no mind nor interest in their vast crimes, which have spanned decades. To the Generals, they are the exception to every rule, including the ones that they dictate and which technically make their coup a violation of their own accord.