Saturday, June 8, 2013

Two Statements on the 2nd Anniversary of Renewed Fighting in Kachin State

9 June 2013
Two Statements on the 2nd Anniversary of Renewed Fighting in Kachin State
Statement of Ethnic People, Civil Society Organizations and Networks Calling for a Genuine and Just Peace
1. On 9 June 2013, it will have been two full years since armed conflict between the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and Myanmar government resumed on 9 June 2011. During the last two years, more than 10 peace talks have taken place and we, the undersigned social networks and civil society organizations acknowledge and welcome the 7-point agreement signed in Myitkyina on 30 May as a step of improvement in terms of transparency.
2.     We welcome the discussion that took place, to a certain extent, regarding the role of civil society as well as the involvement of some women at the negotiation table. Today, we, the undersigned social networks and civil societies, on behalf of all people who want peace, would like to put forward our calls as follow in pursuit of a just, sustainable and genuine peace:
a. To ensure that peace talks lead towards genuine federalism.
b. To establish conflict-free zones, including mine-free zones, during peace talks for the protection of innocent civilians and their livelihoods; prioritize humanitarian aid over security; and provide assistance according to international human rights standards.
c. To officially clarify and institutionalize the role of civil society organizations and networks in every peace process, including those who are ethnic community-based and those working on women's issues, and other social organizations and networks.
d. To immediately initiate political dialogue, according to the agreements reached with the United Nationalities Federal Council in February 2013.
e. To not allow any investments, concessions or beginning of projects in the name of development unless meaningful political agreements are reached that guarantee genuine and just peace, and unless the local people are properly informed and consulted.
f. To hold discussions prior to a peace agreement about the repatriation and reintegration processes for Internally Displaced Persons and conflict-affected people, in order to safeguard their rights to own land, house and property according to international principles, standards and procedures, including the Geneva Convention, of which Myanmar is a signatory.
g. To establish a tripartite ceasefire monitoring and advisory group that is comprised of individual or organizational representatives of the United Nations and the international community, social networks that include women, civil society and local community representatives who can convey the voice of ethnic people from conflict-affected areas. This group must monitor and assess throughout the entire peace process, to ensure that negotiations are carried out on equal terms, and to lend effective support to achieve accurate results.
h. To ensure that international donors, including the European Union, are transparent and accountable in their funding and support of the peace process.
Signed by following civil society organizations and networks who want a genuine and just peace:
  1. ရန္ကုန္-လုိင္ဇာျငိမ္းခ်မ္းေရးလမ္းေလွ်ာက္ လူငယ္မ်ားအဖြဲ႔
  2. Safety Net
  3. ကခ်င္ျငိမ္းခ်မ္းေရးကြန္ရက္
  4.  ျငိမ္းခ်မ္းေရးကြန္ရက္
  5.  ျမန္မာ့အေရးေဆာင္ရြက္သူမ်ား- Burma Partnership
  6. Equality Myanmar
  7. ကခ်င္အမ်ိဳးသမီးမ်ား ျငိမ္းခ်မ္းေရးကြန္ရက္
  9. Gender and Development Initiative-Myanmar
  10. Myanmar Youth Empowerment Programme
  11. Pray for Myanmar
  12. All Kachin Student and Youth Union (AKSYU)
  13. Kachin Women Union
  14. Development Workers' Network Group (Kachin)
  15. Kachin Legal Aid Network
  16. Mungchying Rawt Jat Organisation
  17. ဧရာ၀တီျမစ္ဆံုတန္ဖရဲေဒသခံမ်ား
  18. Ningtawn Kachin Education Support Group
  19. Htoi Development Organisation
  20. Kindness Women
  21. Mizzima youth network
  22. Youth resource development program (Myanmar)
  23. Peace machine
  24. ပန္းပ်ိဳးလက္
  25. Pray for Myanmar youth network
  26. IFI Watch Group
  27. Voice of Women
  28. Human Right Defenders and Promoters
Federalism is Key to Genuine Peace
60 Kachin community organisations and Burma campaign groups worldwide in 21 countries will take part in a Global Day of Action today to mark the 2nd anniversary of military attacks by the Burmese government against the Kachin Independence Army and Kachin civilians breaking a 17- year ceasefire.
It has been two years now since the Burmese Army broke the ceasefire with the Kachin Independence Army, which resulted in continuous military attacks on a daily basis and human rights abuses against Kachin civilians. During the military attacks, the Burmese Army targets civilians. This constitutes a war crime. Human rights abuses committed by the Burmese Army documented by the United Nations could also qualify as crimes against humanity. Kachin civilians have suffered from human rights violations, including rape of women and children, arbitrary execution, torture, forced labour, mortar bombing, burning and looting of villages. More than 100,000 Kachin civilians have had to flee from their homes to refugee camps and internally displaced areas. The Burmese government continues to restrict access for humanitarian aid to thousands of Kachin refugees. International humanitarian aid is still needed for the IDPs through local relief organisations.
The Global Day of Action highlights the human rights abuses in Kachin areas including widespread sexual violence against ethnic women used as a weapon of war without any repercussions. They are also calling for the establishment of a federal democratic Burma to guarantee a durable peace.
There will be peaceful demonstrations, letter- writing and events in various countries across the world targeting respective governments to put pressure on President U Thein Sein to stop the attacks against the Kachin and commit to a political solution based on the principle of federal democracy and equal rights for ethnic nationalities.
In Burma, various actions will take place where peace activists will lay wreaths at the Independence Monument and there will be a peace demonstration at Inya Lake followed by interfaith prayer event, organised by the Kachin Peace Network together with other community-based organisations.
In the UK, the Kachin community and Burma Campaign UK will hold a protest outside the British Foreign Office to urge William Hague, UK Foreign Secretary, to highlight the issue of rape and sexual violence committed by the Burmese government's forces, and press for federal constitutional reform in Burma.
Although there have been some peace negotiations, there is little progress from the government side to commit to a genuine ceasefire and negotiate on the political root causes in a meaningful way. While the Kachin and other nationalities suffer under the military-backed government, the international community continues to ignore the horrific human rights abuses and has instead rewarded the government by lifting most key sanctions. We strongly urge the international community to actively participate in any future peace negotiations and political process.
"The root cause of the conflict in Kachin State is the lack of national equality based on the current constitution. Without a political solution which is the formation of a federal democratic Burma that guarantees self-determination for the Kachin and all ethnic nationalities, there can never be a durable peace in the country", said Gawlu La Awng from the Foreign Department of the Kachin Independence Organisation.
The following organisations support this Global Day of Action:
  1. Actions Birmanie (Belgium)
  2. All Kachin Students and Youth Union
  3. Altsean-Burma
  4. ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC)
  5. Asia-Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC- Philippines)
  6. Association Suisse-Birmanie (Switzerland)
  7. Austrian Burma Center (Austria)
  8. BurmaInfo (Japan)
  9. Burma Action Ireland
  10. Burma Aktion (Germany)
  11. Burma Campaign Australia
  12. Burma Campaign UK
  13. Burma Centre Delhi (India)
  14. Burma Partnership
  15. Center for Peoples Dialogue (Srilanka)
  16. Chin Human Rights Organization
  17. Christian Solidarity Worldwide
  18. Dignity International (Global NGO)
  19. European Karen Network
  20. Forum for Democracy in Burma
  21. Free Burma Campaign (South Africa)
  22. Free Burma Coalition-Philippines
  23. Human Rights Education Institute of Burma
  24. IMPARSIAL, the Indonesian human rights monitor (Indonesia)
  25. Info Birmanie (France)
  26. Institute for Asian Democracy
  27. International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
  28. Inter Pares (Canada)
  29. Jinghpawland Cultural Exchange Committee
  30. Kachin Association Australia (NSW)
  31. Kachin Alliance, USA
  32. Kachin Canadian Association (KCA)
  33. Kachin Community in Europe
  34. Kachin Community in New Zealand
  35. Kachin Development Group (KDG)
  36. Kachin Environmental Organization
  37. Kachin Literature and Culture-Singapore
  38. Kachin National Organization
  39. Kachin Peace Network
  40. Kachin Refugee Committee - Malaysia
  41. Kachin Women's Association Thailand (KWAT)
  42. Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN)
  43. Kayan Women's Organization (Karenni)
  44. Mae Tao Clinic
  45. Mon Youth Forum (MYF)
  46. Mon Youth Progressive Organization (MYPO)
  47. Nationalities Youth Forum (Burma)
  48. PaxRomana ICMICA Asia
  49. People's Forum on Burma(Japan)
  50. Project Maje, Portland Oregon USA
  51. Queensland Kachin Community Inc (QKC)
  52. Rohingya Arakanese Refugee Committee (RARC), Malaysia
  53. Rohingya Youth Development Forum (RYDF), Arakan-Burma
  54. Shwe Gas Movement (SGM)
  55. Ta'ang Students and Youth Organization
  56. The Arakan Observer Group
  57. The Best Friend Burmese Library
  58. US Campaign for Burma
  59. WunpawngNinghtoi (WPN)
  60. Pan Taung Township Farmers Network

Latest from the Blog
By Burma Partnership

Briefing in Yangon
On 7 June, the organizers of the above statement held a briefing at the Central Hotel in Yangon. See photos from the event here.
Public Events
On 9 June, the groups have organized a march and indoor event including an interfaith prayer ceremony. Read more about these events here.

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