In one of the most disgusting acts of an official government misconduct in recent times, the soldiers of the Burmese Army who are seeking to crush a rebellion by Karen rebels attacked and looted an orphanage of food and other goods to support the military drive against the rebel ethnic fighters. Even though many girls at the orphanage were just 11 to 13 years of age, many were gang raped by the Burmese soldiers as well. A number of the orphans were killed in the violence by the government army at the orphanage.
A further human rights outrage exists with child soldiers being used by the Karen rebels who make a stand against the military government of Burma. So far about 100,000 refugees have poured over the border into neighboring Thailand to avoid the war. For more than five decades, extending into the early 1960's the KNU(Karen National Union) rebels have been at war with the army of Burma. In recent years, the Karen rebels have suffered big military losses as their number of best soldiers declines, increasing the use of children or other persons unsuitable for combat duty.
In 1988, the Karen ethnic group refused to sign a peace treaty signed by other ethnic groups to stop the combat, and the armed struggle against the government continued. While most of the 7 million Karen people are Buddhist, there is a large percentage of Christians among the Karens as well, who have long fought against the religious persecution of Christians by the military government of Burma. The Karen people also have their own language as well.
While this war is virtually unknown to most American people, there are at least 17 active wars in the world right now, which is at least some improvement from the recent high point of 31 wars set during 1991. However, like all wars, civilians often pay the highest price of conflict. And the cowardly assault on the orphanage by the Burmese military is all too typical of the moral outrages that armed conflict creates.
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