Victims of a green cause

MORE than 2,000 people belonging to theethnic Karen community have beenmassacred in Burma since February bythe Burmese army to clear their land forthe Myinmoletkat Nature Reserve. Over30,000 have been forced to work unpaidand unfed or to flee across the border toThailand. Isolated by the rest of theworld for its abysmal human rightsrecord, Burma's military junta is keenon building its image as an environment-friendly nation and also onattracting foreign tourists.

The proposed nature reserve wouldbe the biggest of its kind in the world. Itis home to rare flora and fauna including tigers, elephants and the Sumatranrhinoceros. The government is beingassisted in this project by top conservation agencies like the New York-basedWildlife Conservation Society and theSmithsonian Institute in Washington.The forestry ministry claimed that theWorld Wide Fund for Nature was alsobacking the project. Reports of forcedlabour, killing and torture by the armyhave also come in from Lanbi and otherislands off the southern Burmese coast,which will be transformed into a marinenational park.

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