Dozens of expatriate Kachin people staged a protest today in front of the Burmese consulate in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai, calling for a cessation to the armed conflict in Kachin State and northern Shan State.
According to a statement released by the protesters, Burmese government forces continue to oppress the ethnic people in those regions despite the election of a democratic leadership in Burma in November 2015.
“In September 2016, government forces attacked the Kachin outpost of Laipaung,” read the statement. “Each time they launched an assault, they employed heavy weapons, assisted by fighting jets to conduct bombing raids. Each time they dropped more than 1,000 bombs. What’s more, they bombed a refugee camp, causing a huge impact on those refugees.”
Speaking to Shan Herald, Jai Ji, one of the organizers, accused the Burmese armed forces of targeting places where civilians had sought refuge or shelter.
“People are suffering due to the actions of the tatmadaw [Burmese military],” he said. “This is a very cold time of year, and people suffer when they have to abandon their homes.”
Thursday’s statement also claimed that, since 2011, the Burmese armed forces’ offensives in Kachin State have compelled civilians to flee their homes and villages, but they have been frequently prevented from crossing the border into China. It said many had been left on the side of the road without any protection.
Rally spokesperson Nawkham said, “We requested assistance from the Chinese government for the refugees from Kachin State, and asked that they be treated in accordance with the principles of human rights. We also asked the Chinese government to put pressure on the Burmese military to put an end to the fighting in Kachin State and northern Shan State.”
The protesters also demanded justice for the families of two teachers who had disappeared in Mong Koe, northern Shan State.
The demonstrators’ statement went on to allege that the Russian military was aiding and abetting the Burmese army in its conflict with Kachin rebels. It urged Moscow to investigate this claim and bring those involved to justice.
The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) signed a ceasefire agreement with the then-ruling Burmese military junta in 1994. However, in 2011, the ceasefire was broken, and hostilities have continued to date.
On November 20, the KIA, alongside its allies the Arakan Army (AA), Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), and Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), coordinated assaults on Burmese military positions in areas across northern Shan State, including Muse, Namkham, Namhsan, Kutkai, Namtu, Kyaukme, Hsenwi and Mantong.
The Burmese army soon brought in reinforcements to recapture its strongholds, and the fighting has since intensified.
By Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN)
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