The Harvard Law School has published a research paper on Monday calling on the Myanmar army to renounce longstanding policies that result in gross violations of human rights.

The paper titled ‘Preventing Indiscriminate Attacks and Wilful Killings of Civilians by the Myanmar Military’ identifies harmful policies that give rise to such attacks and proposes a practical reform programme for the military.

“If the army follows its promises to protect people, it will become a modern and professional army,” said Tyler Giannini, co-director of Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Programme.

The policy paper, researched by Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Programme, draws on the findings of an ongoing investigation into a 2005–2008 counterinsurgency offensive in eastern Myanmar.

During eleven field missions to the region, researchers documented numerous “shoot-on-sight” incidents in which soldiers opened fire on civilians, including women, children, and elderly persons.

Witnesses also described executions, the deliberate placement of land-mines in civilian locations, and the indiscriminate shelling of villages and agricultural fields.

The paper goes on to suggest that the military should train officers and new recruits with a focus on human rights, emphasising the importance of forging a good relationship between the army and civilians.
They also suggest to create an independent commission to analyse possible reforms within the army.

Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Clinic has been analysing human rights violations in Myanmar since 2005 and are now closely monitoring the reform process under President Thein Sein.