“When you speak another language, that is Burmese, you become Burman instead of Karen. When this happens you’re already dead as a Karen person.”

“When they are portering, many Shan don’t understand what the soldiers are ordering them to do, and so they may make mistakes and get beaten and tortured by the soldiers.”

On the eve of the World Conference Against Racism in South Africa, EarthRights International released this report, which documents a widespread pattern of brutal discrimination against ethnic minorities in Burma.

The report was researched by EarthRights International staff who interviewed mainly Karen and Shan victims of government-sponsored discrimination, including forced labor, rape, destruction of identities and suppression of language. The report documents state-sponsored discrimination against minorities in schools and government institutions, discriminatory violence in conflict zones, and a pattern of targeting minorities for the worst abuses of forced labor.