Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Kachin civil society groups call for army to withdraw

A coalition of 15 civil society organizations (CSOs) based in northern Burma's Kachin state publicly called on the Thein Sein government to withdraw army troops deployed in an ongoing offensive against the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and other ethnic armed groups.

The statement issued on November 11th also condemned the army for the recent shelling of a cadet training centre near the Laiza headquarters of the KIO. The November 19th shelling incident killed 23 cadets from a number of armed groups allied with the KIO. According to the statement the shelling attack was an “intentional massacre of ethnic people.”

“The attack prompts the question from civilians whether the Tatmadaw (Burma Army) wants peace or not”, the statement said.

The signatories to the statement also noted that the army's attack violated Burma's 2008 constitution. Chapter one, Section 6 (a) and (b) of non-disintegration of the union and non-disintegration of national solidarity, something that the shelling incident undermined, according to the statement.

Burmese government officials have provided a contradictory explanation for the shelling incident including that it was a misplaced warning shot. Burma Army units located near KIO territory fired a series of shells at KIO on November 22ndand 23rd November. Some of the shells landed very near to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp and villages. This shelling was also widely condemned by the Kachin community and human rights groups.

The organizations who signed on to the statement come from a variety of groups including those focused on education, women rights, environments, youth, refugees and healthcare.


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