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Human rights violations widespread in eastern Burma
Date:10/5/2007

Gross human rights violations, including forced displacement, forced labor, attacks by soldiers on civilians, injury from landmines and destruction or theft of food supplies, have been widespread in eastern Burma (also known as Myanmar), with over half of households in displaced areas reporting incidents in the 12 months prior to a 2004 survey. The study, completed by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Back Pack Health Worker Team and other institutions, is published in the October 2007 issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

These study results highlight the impact that the oppressive military junta in Burma has had and continues to have on the vulnerable ethnic minority populations that have been specifically targeted by the military regime, said Luke C. Mullany, PhD, MHS, lead author of the study and an assistant professor with the Bloomberg School of Public Healths Center for Public Health and Human Rights.

The Back Pack Health Worker Team, a network of trained, mobile health workers who provide basic health care and conduct surveillance in eastern Burma, completed interviews and completed malaria testing in 1,834 households between October and December 2004. Resource and security constraints required survey modules, including basic malaria diagnostic tests, to be limited to one sheet of paper and only what could be carried inconspicuously and without survey respondent identifiers.

Fifty-two percent of respondents experienced one or more human rights violations during the previous 12 months. Over 32 percent of households reported forced labor, 25 percent reported theft or destruction of their food supply and over 8 percent reported forced displacement. Mortality risk for children under five years of age exceeded 200 per 1,000 live births. Malaria, diarrhea and acute respiratory infections were reported as the most common causes of death. Landmines injuries were reported at a rat
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Contact: Kenna Lowe
paffairs@jhsph.edu
410-955-6878
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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