The State Peace and Development Council’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has issued a, somewhat factually-challenged, statement claiming that the recent EU Presidency Declaration on Karen Civilians fleeing fighting shows ‘total ignorance.
The EU declaration, issued on the 11th of June, calls for ‘… an immediate ceasefire and requests the authorities and military operators to ensure the protection of civilians at all times and to comply with international humanitarian and human rights law.’
The MOFA statement, printed in Sunday’s New Light of Myanmar, claims that the Internally Displaced Peopled, who have had to flee the IDP Camp at Leh Per Her to Thailand, are ‘…none other than members of KNU/KNLA and their families.’ The statement also incorrectly states that the Karen National Union is the last remaining armed group fighting against the Naypyitaw government ignoring both the Shan State Army – South and the Karenni National Progressive Party among others.
As is often the case, the government has tried to deflect criticism from its own systematic abuses and use of force against Burma’s minority peoples by claiming it to be an internal Karen problem. According to the statement the recent fighting was caused by the KNLA preventing followers of Nay Soe Mya, who surrendered in March, from joining him. It also claims that the Burma Army has had no involvement in the attacks despite evidence to the contrary that it is the Burmese Army, not the DKBA, that shelled the IDP camp prior to the exodus.
Not since May 2006, after the SPDC launched its offensive in Northern Karen State, have such patently ridiculous, and often contradictory, lies been trotted out by the government. The 2006 offensive, which is still ongoing, against KNU 2nd and 3rd Brigades, has resulted in the displacement of over 20,000 civilians and the relocation of thousands more. According to the Information Minister, Kyaw San, the reason for the offensive was the fact that the KNU commander was prejudiced against the Bwe/Geba Karens and favoured the Paku. (New Light of Myanmar, 15 May, 2006). Apparently, racial injustice can’t be tolerated when it’s purportedly practiced by the Karen, but for the SPDC, racism is not only allowed but encouraged.
One would have assumed, given so much practice at fooling its own people, if not itself, that the regime would have gotten better at lying. Unfortunately, I doubt the Generals care whether their lies are believable or not, no action is going to be taken against them anyway.