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Myanmar troops commit atrocities

world Updated: Feb 26, 2010 01:13 IST

Myanmar troops have gang-raped, murdered and even crucified Karen women, or those in their charge, who took on the roles of village chiefs in hopes they would be less likely abused than traditional male leaders, a Karen group said on Thursday.

The atrocities, which also include beheadings, torture, forced prostitution and slave labour, are often committed as the troops attempt to root out a 60-year-old insurgency by guerrillas of the Karen ethnic minority, the Karen Women Organisation said in a report.

Although the United Nations and other organisations have documented similar atrocities against Myanmar’s ethnic minorities, the government has consistently denied allegations of human rights abuses, saying its troops are only engaged in anti-terrorist operations.

The report, ‘Walking Amongst Sharp Knives,’ said that the trend for Karen women to assume community leadership “has put women further into the front line of human rights abuses being committed by the Burma Army and their allies.”

Myanmar is also known as Burma.