Myanmar network: Kachin victims have been forgotten

Yangon: Saturday, the Kachin Peace Network marked the 4th anniversary of the resumed war in the Kachin region. The organization urges to support the IDP camps where thousands of people are living under severe circumstances. Recently, the support has been cut. 

Due to constraints by the Burmese government, the event was not allowed to take place in the first planned locations and was therefore held in Bo Sein Mhan Park - a more remote area in Yangon.
Due to constraints caused by the local authorities, Kachin Peace Network had to move location to Bo Sein Mhan Park – a remote area in Yangon. Photo by Louise Bihl Frandsen

Recent cuts in the support to the Kachin IDP camps has caused strong reactions in the Kachin Peace Network. The organization works to promote public awareness on the circumstances of the 120,000 Kachin people internally displaced in the Kachin and Shan State.

David Gum Awng is working as a volunteer for the organization and is one of the coordinators of the event.

“The IDPs have been forgotten. The circumstances in the camps are very severe right now. People do not have enough food, so we need to do something now,” David Gum Awng says.

New ceasefire talks
Fighting between the Kachin Independence Army and Myanmar Army restarted the 9th of June 2011 after a 17-year-old ceasefire broke down – just one year after the democratic opening in Myanmar. The recent conflict has resulted in the deaths of thousands of people and displacement of 120,000 civilians.

However, in March this year, Kachin Leaders met with the Burmese government in Naypyidaw to discuss a new ceasefire agreement.

“A new ceasefire agreement is likely to happen in a near future, but we do not really know what is going on inside. We can only hope that it will happen very soon,” David Gum Awng says.

“With the election coming up soon, an agreement like this will be a very crucial and necessary step towards democracy in our country”.

According to UNCHR the 120,000 IDPs displaced in Kachin State and northern Shan State are in need of continued humanitarian assistance.

Besides a number of journalists representing different local media, a rather small group of people had shown up to show their support and to help cause public awareness of the IDP situation. Photo by Louise Bihl Frandsen
Besides a number of journalists representing the local media in Myanmar, a rather small group of people had shown up to show their support and to help promote public awareness of the IDP situation in the Kachin region. Photo by Louise Bihl Frandsen

Backwards signals
Although both parts most likely will sign a new ceasefire, the Kachin Peace Network estimates that it will not be a strong agreement or ‘an open book’ as General Gun Maw (KIA) Kachin Independence Army said earlier.

“The ethnic leaders will not sign a new ceasefire if the armed groups stay in the area, and the government said that several armed groups are not allowed to join,” Khon Ja, founder of the Kachin Peace Network, says.

Among the excluded groups is the new small rebel unit: Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), who is fighting in the Shan State and Arakan Army (AA) in Western Myanmar as well as Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA).

Khon Ja, founder of Kachin Peace Network.
Khon Ja, founder of Kachin Peace Network.

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