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Statement on Dialogue Between KIO/KIA and Thein Sein’s Government

By All Kachin Students and Youth Union, BRIDGE, Kachin Centre, Kachin Development Networking Group, Kachin Environmental Organization, Kachin National Organization, Kachin Women's Association – Thailand, Kachin News Group, Life Vision Foundation and Pan Kachin Development Society  •  January 17, 2012

The people of Kachin State have repeatedly attempted to engage in Burma’s political processes during the 17-year ceasefire between the Kachin Independence Organization/Kachin Independence Army (KIO/KIA) and successive Burmese regimes. However, we have never been given the opportunity to hold political dialogue with these regimes or with Thein Sein’s government.

The people of Kachin State live in fear due to the massive presence of Burma Army troops, ongoing fighting and grave violations of human rights. Since 9 June 2011, more than 60,000 people have fled from the Burma Army’s offensives against the KIA. They continue to live in dire conditions without adequate assistance due to the Burmese government’s restrictions on humanitarian organizations.

Therefore, the undersigned Kachin organizations call for an immediate end to offensives in Kachin State and all ethnic areas, and the initiation of politically meaningful dialogue between ethnic nationalities and Thein Sein’s government to achieve ethnic equality and self-determination. We would like to make the following calls regarding the ceasefire negotiations and political dialogue process:

To the people of Burma:

We call on:

  • The citizens of Burma, in whatever capacity, to join us in establishing a genuine and long-lasting peace. We encourage all citizens to learn about the root causes of ethnic conflict in order to overcome the government’s publication of misrepresentative information about ethnic peoples’ struggle for equality and self-determination, as in the state-run media.
  • Community Based Organizations and activists to mobilize and collaborate in nationwide peace campaigns; and systematically prepare for ceasefire monitoring procedures.
  • Media to accurately report on ceasefire negotiations and ethnic peoples’ struggle.

To Thein Sein’s Government:

  • Set substantial agreement points that not only seek to benefit the two parties involved, but also protect the wellbeing of the people in conflict areas in the long-run.
  • Allow independent international observers to participate in the negotiations as witnesses.
  • Allow the involvement of Community Based Organizations, international organizations and other local organizations in monitoring mechanisms, in order to observe whether both sides comply with their ceasefire agreement.
  • Allow access of international humanitarian and local organizations to provide emergency assistance programs for people displaced by armed conflict.
  • Seek solutions for national equality and establishment of true federal union, which are the root causes of civil war, through political dialogue.
  • Cease publication of misrepresentative information about ceasefire negotiations and ethnic peoples’ struggle for equality and self-determination in state-run media.

To the Kachin Independence Organization/Kachin Independence Army:

  • Prepare detailed points to be discussed during negotiations in order to achieve a political solution that will guarantee the equality, safety and human rights of the people of Kachin State.
  • Learning from the past ceasefire, any future agreement with Thein Sein’s government must include the protection of Kachin communities’ interests, including natural resource management.
  • Allow the involvement of Community Based Organizations, international organizations and other local organizations in monitoring mechanisms in order to observe both sides’ compliance with the ceasefire agreement.
  • Cooperate with international humanitarian organizations on reintegration and rehabilitation programs for people displaced by armed conflict.

To the United Nations and the International Community:

The United Nations and the international community must play a strong role in facilitating national reconciliation by:

  • Acting as a mediator in ceasefire negotiations.
  • Pushing for the establishment of monitoring mechanisms to ensure both sides abide by the ceasefire agreement.
  • Establishing a Commission of Inquiry in order to investigate human rights violations against local civilians, and push for the establishment of mechanisms to provide justice and end impunity.
  • Pushing for access to be able to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to civilians in conflict areas.
  • Supporting and cooperating with Community Based Organizations to implement reintegration and rehabilitation programs for civilians displaced by armed conflict.

On behalf of:

  • All Kachin Students and Youth Union (AKSYU)
  • BRIDGE
  • Kachin Centre
  • Kachin Development Networking Group
  • Kachin Environmental Organization
  • Kachin National Organization
  • Kachin Women’s Association – Thailand
  • Kachin News Group
  • Life Vision Foundation
  • Pan Kachin Development Society

For more information, please contact:

Mr. Naw San, General Secretary of AKSYU: +66 (0) 84 811 9594 
or aksyumaesot@gmail.com 

Mr. Naw Din, Editor of Kachin News Group: +66 (0) 89 431 3200 or editor@kachinnews.com

Download the statement in Burmese here.

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This post is in: Press Release

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