Shan Groups: International Community Ignores War Crimes in Shan State

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Yesterday a coalition of over 30 Shan community-based organizations (CBOs) called for the international community to take action on the current offensive in central Shan State by the Burma Army.

Press conference held at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand ( FCCT )
Press conference held at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand ( FCCT )

Speaking at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT) in Bangkok, Sai Khur Hseng, of the Shan Sapawa Environmental Organization, questioned the “silence” of the international community regarding ongoing fighting which has displaced 10,000 civilians since early October.

“Why don’t they say anything about it?” said Sai Khur Hseng. “Or do they think that Shan State is not part of Burma?”

“[They] were happy with the election and the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) signing, but they ignore the current conflict in the country,” he added.

Map of displacement caused by Burma army offensive in central Shan State
Map of displacement caused by Burma army offensive in central Shan State

Despite the presence of previous ceasefires, the war re-started on October 6 between the government military and the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army-North (SSPP/SSA-N). Since then, central Shan State has only experienced four days without clashes.

“Keeping silent about Naypyidaw’s latest attacks and war crimes is giving the green light to these atrocities,” said Nang Charm Tong, a Shan human rights activist and a spokesperson for the coalition of CBOs at the conference.

The Shan coalition urged international governments to condemn Burma government action against civilians, and to immediately end both military reinforcement and offensives in the ethnic areas.

“They should not solve the problem with the armed forces,” said Sai Khur Hseng. “When there is fighting, the civilians are the victims—not only Shan people but also other ethnic groups like Ta’ang, Lisu and others.”

“The government must responsible for the loss of the citizens’ property,” he added.

The statement released by the CBOs also highlights growing economic and strategic ties with Burma’s military power holders as a reason for inaction by the international community, despite the Burmese government’s aggression against ethnic people.

The event was attended by representatives from the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), media agencies the Thai and the Shan community.

By SAI AW / Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N)