HRW calls on all warring sides in Shan State to ‘safeguard civilians’

09 September 2019
HRW calls on all warring sides in Shan State to ‘safeguard civilians’
This photo taken on August 25, 2019 shows people, affected by clashes between the military and ethnic rebel groups, waiting to receive supplies from local civil society organisations in Man Lwal village, outside Kutkai in Shan State. Photo: Ye Aung Thu/AFP

Myanmar’s armed forces and the three ethnic armed groups fighting in northern Shan State should safeguard civilians, Human Rights Watch said. Renewed fighting since August 15, 2019 has resulted in the deaths of at least 17 civilians and injured 27, many of them women and children, according to the United Nations.

Approximately 7,500 people were displaced by the fighting in August, and 3,500 remain in temporary shelters. Nongovernmental groups have told Human Rights Watch that armed forces on both sides have stopped humanitarian aid convoys from traveling to affected populations, resulting in shortages of food and medicine.

“Myanmar’s military and ethnic armed groups should recognize that protecting civilians is a core obligation of the laws of war,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “All sides to the conflict should cease unlawful attacks against civilians and ensure that aid reaches people in need.”