Thursday, June 4, 2015

Action Alert: Call for Endorsements - Statement on the 4th Anniversary of the Recurrent War in Kachin State


4 June 2015


Action Alert

Call for Endorsements: Statement on the 4th Anniversary of the Recurrent War in Kachin State

Dear Friends and Supporters,

At the bottom of this email is a statement to be released on Monday 8 June, a day before the 4th anniversary of the recurrent war in Kachin State.

Please email us if your organization would like to endorse this statement by 13:00 Monday, 8 June Bangkok time by emailing and 

In solidarity,

The Burma Partnership Secretariat

Groups Worldwide Call for an Immediate End to Offensives in Northern Burma/Myanmar and for the Provision of Unhindered Humanitarian Assistance to the IDPs

Four years ago on 9 May 2011, the Burma Army attacked the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) outpost, breaking a 17-year-old ceasefire agreement. Since then the Burma/Myanmar Government has launched an aggressive military offensive against the KIA and clashes have escalated into an outright recurrent war in Kachin and northern Shan State. As we commemorate the fourth anniversary of the renewed war in Kachin State, the Burma Army continues to increase its militarization by manipulating its forces into ethnic administrated territories, while the Burma/Myanmar Government has restricted local and international humanitarian  access to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to provide aid and assistance.

Since the Burma Army began its attacks in 2011, over 120,000 people in Kachin State have been displaced and more than 100,000 people have settled into IDP camps along the China-Burma/Myanmar border. These IDPs, many of whom are women, malnourished children and the elderly, have not been able to access full and unhindered aid from the UN and other international agencies since October 2014 and remain in the camps without sufficient food, proper sanitation and other daily needs. As Burma/Myanmar enters the rainy season, increase in dengue and other life threatening diseases put tens of thousands of IDPs at risk, especially without adequate medical supplies. Access to IDPs in KIA controlled areas rests largely on travel authorization granted by the Burma/Myanmar Government, who continues to restrict the movement of international humanitarian organizations.

Until now, the IDPs have been receiving a paltry sum of 12,500 Kyat per month, per person (USD 11.00), and despite the ongoing humanitarian emergency and the need for more food, shelter, medical supplies and school supplies, there will be further reduction in aid from the international community as Community Based Organizations (CBOs) struggle to meet the emergency needs. Starting June 2015, the IDPs are expected to receive as little as 200 Kyat per day (USD 0.18) in aid, which is impossible to survive on. The funding cuts will result in further suffering and the loss of dignity for those who have lived in these harsh conditions for the past four years.

The peace talks and the signing of the draft text of the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) have not brought safety and security to the IDPs and those affected by the conflict as the Burma Army continues to repeatedly wage war against ethnic armies in Kachin State and northern Shan State. Since the peace talks began in 2012, fighting has intensified with the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, Ta'ang National Liberation Army and KIA, who have been excluded from recent peace talks. This has hindered the peace process and increased the lack of trust in the Burma/Myanmar Government, while discussions of the NCA proceed without meaningful results.

While the Burma/Myanmar Government continues to use its rhetoric of peace and reform to invite donors and investors to continue to fund the peace talks and development projects, some of the heaviest fighting in ethnic areas took place this year as the Burma Army attacked the KIA and civilian population in Laiza with airstrikes for the first time in March 2015. In addition, in November 2014, 23 cadets were slain by the Burma Army when they fired artillery missiles at the KIA's training academy.

Since breaching the ceasefire agreement in 2011, the Burma Army has committed a litany of human rights abuses that would likely constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity under international human rights and humanitarian law. Cases such as the rape, torture and murder of two young Kachin volunteer teachers in northern Shan State demonstrates the system of impunity that protects the perpetrators of such heinous crimes, further instilling fear and oppressing ethnic communities. Crimes committed with impunity such as forced labor, arbitrary arrest, illegal detention, torture, extrajudicial killing, restricting the provision of humanitarian assistance, rape and other forms of sexual violence merit an immediate investigation. If Burma/Myanmar Government hopes to gain trust they must show the political will for a truly democratic reform, and immediately conduct an impartial investigation into these crimes. The perpetrators must be held accountable.

On the 4th anniversary of the renewed fighting and war against the Kachin people, we the undersigned organizations strongly urge

The Burma/Myanmar Government to:

  • Immediately halt all Burma Army offensives in Kachin and northern Shan State and genuinely participate in the peace process by honoring original ceasefire agreements, withdrawing troops from ethnic areas and sincerely commit to building a federal union;
  • Allow humanitarian agencies immediate and unhindered access to all IDP camps with the cooperation and meaningful participation of local CBOs in both KIO and Burma/Myanmar Government controlled areas and;
  • Fully respect international human rights and humanitarian laws and comply with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child to which Burma/Myanmar is a signatory, and commit to UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security;

The international community and the donor community to:

  • Urge the Burma/Myanmar Government to allow humanitarian agencies unhindered access to all IDP camps;
  • Continue providing urgent humanitarian assistance to IDPs in cooperation with and in meaningful participation with local CBOs for a step towards long-term provision of humanitarian assistance to conflict affected communities and their eventual safe and dignified return to their home or place of resettlement;
  • Call for the immediate cessation of all hostilities in Kachin and northern Shan State and all other ethnic areas and end the war, so that the ethnic minority peoples may begin to live their lives in genuine peace with dignity.

Endorsed by:

  1. Burma Partnership
  2. Human Rights Defenders and Promoters
  3. Kachin Women Peace Network


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