Hong Kong Coalition of free Burma: 12 June 2012
Burma: End the ethnic cleansing war immediately
Since March 30, 2011 when President Thein Sein took office, the rhetoric of his government has changed markedly. He and his party have noticed the carrying changes inside the country. For example, the country now agrees with Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League in political reforms, giving the amnesty announcement for releasing the prisoners, suspending the Myit Sone Dam project, talking ceasefire with other ethnic nationalities, and the relaxation of restrictions on local media and civil society.
自總統登盛於2011年3月30日上任後，其政府有明顯變化。他及其黨員已經注意到國家內部的轉變。例如，該國現已同意昂山素姬及全國民主聯盟的政治改革、特赦在囚人士、暫停密松水壩（Myit Sone Dam）項目、與其他民族討論停火、並放鬆對該國的媒體及公民社會的禁制。
Since then, observers and scholars have argued that the government is showing a commitment to bring about the reforms that will result in an overall improvement in human rights conditions. The question remains though, why haven’t the gun sounds from northern Burma, Kachin state stop yet?
自此，觀察員及學者爭論著，該國政府正顯示其對改革的承諾，並因此而達致整體人權狀況有改善。問題仍然存在，為何來自緬甸北部克欽邦 (Kachin State)的槍聲仍然不絕？
Despite all the talk about the new conditions in Burma, the human right conditions in the country are getting worse ever since the new government took power. The fighting in the Kachin State began in June after a 17-year-old ceasefire broke down, spreading across all parts of the state with steady intensity. Reports have emerged, claiming that the Burma army soldiers have gang-raped women and girls, killed civilians including some women who have been subjected to rape, the destruction of churches and homes, and the killings. These acts are war crimes and are crimes against humanity.
At the time of writing, the number of internally displaced people was reported to be over 75,000. For the most part, the internally displaced people are aided through little local efforts, since the authorities have blocked attempts by groups based in the country.
On June 8, 2012 marks the first anniversary of the new conflict in Kachin State. On that day, the Kachin organizations and communities around the world, along with regional and international civil society, and the human rights groups held a Global Day of Action for the Kachin this week. This event aims for the withdrawal of Burma Army troops, unhindered access for humanitarian aid to IDPs and refugees, an end to human rights abuses, and the establishment of a meaningful political dialogue.
Today, the Hong Kong Collection of free Burma (HKCFB) is drawing the world’s attention to the atrocious and unacceptable human sufferings in Kachin State, Burma, including the widespread persecution of ethnic nationalities and religious minorities in Burma by the military regime. We are doing the action protest, and are calling for an end to the humanitarian crisis in Kachin State.
We are aware that the government and the KIO have held several rounds of talks during the recent months, but the government has still refused to discuss the core political concerns at the heart of the conflict. We highlight both arm groups to solve the political solution through peaceful dialogue.
We are concerned that the government would support the independent mechanism to investigate the abuses of all sides. The Burmese government has to ensure that those engaged with massive violations against the international humanitarian law are held accountable and brought to justice.
For the HKCFB, it is hardly to believe the recent reforms in Burma, since the violations in place, these are the reasons why. Despite the positive steps by the military-backed government, many of us are still cautious.
We endorse the international for putting pressure on the government to allow access to humanitarian aid for both national and international organizations to help the internally displaced people initiate a meaningful dialogue with the Kachin Independence Organization and the people of Kachin State to achieve sustainable peace, and to address the issue of equality and democracy for ethnic people.
We are calling for the international community to act and consider the deteriorating human rights conditions sustained by the Burmese government. It is their responsibility to ensure that these unacceptable acts to stop.
Together, we will urge Burma’s President and the country’s army to stop the military offenses in Kachin State, to initiate a political dialogue and peace process with the ethnic armed group, the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO).
After one full year of such conflict, it is time for Thein Sein to show his seriousness about change, by ending the offensives, withdrawing troops, stopping the violations, establishing a political dialogue, and a peace process in Kachin state.
If the war from Kachin state continues, this coming year will be difficult for groups and individuals concerned with human rights in Burma to negotiate. Ethnic groups in Burma have been struggling under harsh military rule for more than 50 years; it is time for them to realize their rights and freedom and live with dignity.
Hong Kong Coalition of free Burma will be monitoring the political reforms until the Burmese government calls for political reform towards democracy.