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General News    H4'ed 6/7/12

Burma's Democracy? President Urged to End War Against Kachin People

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Around 40 protesters held a demonstration at the Burmese Embassy in Bangkok today to denounce the ongoing armed conflict and humanitarian crisis in Kachin State. The protesters, members of the Kachin community in Bangkok and representatives from the Overseas National Students of Burma, read out a statement and the text of a letter addressed to President Thein Sein calling for an end to the crisis situation.

An official from the Embassy met the protesters and accepted the letter. It was endorsed by 71 Kachin organizations and communities around the world, as well as regional and international non-governmental organizations.The letter was read in English and Burmese. Titled, "Urgent Appeal to End the Humanitarian Crisis in Kachin State' dated June 5, 2012 -- was addressed to Thein Sein, President of the Union of Myanmar, (Burma) and copied to Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and  Tomà s Ojea Quintana, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Burma.

The letter endorsed by 71 Kachin organizations urges the President to end the humanitarian crisis immediately that Kachin people have now been facing for a year by:

-  Taking immediate appropriate actions to end the Tatmadaw's attacks on Kachin people and to protect civilians.

-  Immediately allowing access to humanitarian aid from both national and international organizations to internally displaced persons.

-  Initiating a meaningful political dialogue with the Kachin Independence Organization and the people of Kachin State in order to achieve sustainable peace and address the issue of equality and democracy for ethnic people.

-  Allowing independent international witnesses and local civil society and community-based organizations to observe peace talks and participate in monitoring mechanisms to ensure compliance with the ceasefire agreement.

-  Stopping the misrepresentation of Kachin people and their desires in state media.

-  Helping the people of Kachin State recover from the physical and mental wounds of war and begin the rebuilding process.

Burmese government armed forces have been fighting relentlessly against the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) since 9 June last year. This week, on Saturday (9 June 2012), continuation of civil war in Kachin state will mark the one year point since warfare has been taking place between the Burmese Army and the Kachin Independence Organization.

Burma Army continues nonstop offensive to seize positions held by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Kachin and the northern Shan state. Although, Burma's President, Thein Sein, has issued an instruction twice to Burma"s Commander-in-Chief to halt the offensive against the KIO, the war continues and the people continue to run for their lives.

In the face of President Thein Sein's second order to stop the offensive against the Kachin rebels Burma's Army has incessantly continued its aggressive operation against the KIA and Kachin civilians. KIA officials and observers with knowledge of Burmese armed forces' tradition say that the heavy artillery bombardments, these days, in the war against Kachin rebels are only used with the authorization of the Burma Army's central military command.

It's obviously clear that President Thein Sein's commands to stop the offensive are certainly worthless orders issued to satisfy the international community. It seems to be a deceitful trick of this wicked war game.

Several Kachin citizens consider the reason of renewing the war, after a 17-year ceasefire, is the craving for natural resources in the Kachin State by the Burmese military-backed government. That's why it strives to widen its control of the areas with Chinese power projects.

Last month, Lanyaw Zawng Hra, Chairman of KIO Central Committee, called on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to send UN observer teams,, or intermediary teams, to the conflict war zones and to the towns and villages destroyed by the Burmese Army, including the IDP camps in KIO areas. KIO Chairman mentioned in a letter, sent to UN Secretary General on May 15, that the Burmese Army is not only waging war against the KIO/KIA, but also against the Kachin population as a whole and that the government's Army is now engaged in ethnic cleansing and the conflict has now turned from of political to racial in nature. 

"This is a crucial time for us Kachin and our supporters to call on the Burma Army to halt attacks on civilians and urge the government to finally solve the conflict and stop the humanitarian crisis. The people of Kachin State cannot suffer like this for another year," Naw San, General Secretary of the All Kachin Students and Youths Union, said today.

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Zin Linn was born on February 9, 1946 in a small town in Mandalay Division. He began writing poems in 1960 and received a B.A (Philosophy) in 1976. He became an activist in the High School Union after the students' massacre on 7th July 1962. (more...)

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