Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Kachin activists mark third year of war

Kachin in London hold a protest in front of the Burmese Emabassy on June 9th 2014 (photo countesy Burma Campaign UK)

Over the past few days Kachin people around the world took part in events to mark the third anniversary of the Kachin conflict which fell on Monday June 9th. On Sunday many Kachin gathered in Rangoon’s Maha Bandoola Park where community leaders gave speeches calling for peace. Kachin youth in Myitkyina also took part in a similar peace themed event in the Kachin state capital.

Kachin exiles also held events in the UK, the US, Canada and in Thailand to mark the anniversary. In London Kachin activists and their British friends staged a protest in front of the Burmese Embassy. In Washington DC Kachin activists met with staff from 29 Senators and Congressman to inform them about the Kachin situation.

A statement issued by the US based Kachin activists called for American politicians to include language in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2015 that would restrict US military involvement with their Burmese military counterparts, The Kachin activists also called for bipartisan support for congress to vote for the S.R. 1885 Burma Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2013.

“By placing conditions on assistance to the Government of Burma and tying military-to-military engagement to meaningful human rights achievements, this bill will hold Burmese government including its military accountable as only the United States can, to restore ethnic rights to the Kachin and all ethnic and religious minorities in Burma. This will send a message to all actors in the region that the United States stands in solidarity with the persecuted minorities and will not tolerate sustained human rights abuses”, said a statement issued by US based Kachin activist Gum San.

A 17 year ceasefire between the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and Burma's central government ended on June 9 2011. The conflict has so far displaced more than 120,000 people across Kachin and northern Shan state. Although the KIO has met with government negotiators more than a dozen times during the last two years, an end to the Kachin conflict remains elusive.


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