The November 2006 report of the UN Special Rapporteur for Burma highlights the deterioration in the rights, security and livelihoods of Burma's 54 million people. The repression of the ruling military junta against its population is most evident in attacks against minorities such as the Karen Hill Tribes. More than 10,000 Karen were displaced in a military attack by the junta in November 2006, with the prospects of them fleeing into Thailand to claim asylum being hindered by the presence of a large number of landmines on the Burmese side of the border. This latest attack by the military is the largest of its kind since 1997 and is resulting in a humanitarian disaster on a grand scale, with the tens of thousands of the displaced falling victim to water-borne diseases fuelled by Cyclone Mala. The systematic abuses are not restricted to the Karen, with ongoing conflicts against other ethnic minority rebel groups being waged, on the government side, through an array of extra-judicial executions, rapes, the use of torture and forced relocations of entire villages. Human Rights Watch estimates that, since the start of 2006, 232 villages have been destroyed in Burma as part of the army's campaign against ethnic insurgents, and 82,000 people have been forced to flee as a direct result of armed conflict.

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