MORE than 2,000 people belonging to the
ethnic Karen community have been
massacred in Burma since February by
the Burmese army to clear their land for
the Myinmoletkat Nature Reserve. Over
30,000 have been forced to work unpaid
and unfed or to flee across the border to
Thailand. Isolated by the rest of the
world for its abysmal human rights
record, Burma's military junta is keen
on building its image as an environment-friendly nation and also on
attracting foreign tourists.
The proposed nature reserve would be the biggest of its kind in the world. It is home to rare flora and fauna including tigers, elephants and the Sumatran rhinoceros. The government is being assisted in this project by top conservation agencies like the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington. The forestry ministry claimed that the World Wide Fund for Nature was also backing the project. Reports of forced labour, killing and torture by the army have also come in from Lanbi and other islands off the southern Burmese coast, which will be transformed into a marine national park.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.