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56 Solidarity Groups Worldwide Call for an Immediate Halt to All Military Offensives in Northern Burma/Myanmar and Unhindered Provision of Aid to Hundreds of Thousands of IDPs

By 56 Solidarity Organizations Worldwide  •  June 8, 2015

(8 June 2015) On the fourth anniversary of the renewed war in Kachin State, 56 groups worldwide issued a statement in solidarity with the Kachin people by calling on the Burma Army to immediately halt all offensives in Kachin and northern Shan States and for the Burma/Myanmar Government to allow humanitarian agencies immediate and unhindered access to all internally displaced persons (IDPs) affected by the ongoing conflict. Since the Burma Army breached the 17-year-old ceasefire agreement with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), over 120,000 people have been displaced, mostly along the border with China.

“The IDPs have been suffering from a shortage of humanitarian aid, as well as restrictions to aid delivery, which is being blocked by the Government,” said Khon Ja, a member of the Kachin Women Peace Network. “Not only is there a need for a substantial increase in humanitarian aid, the Government must end its policies of inflicting further suffering on the IDPs who are the most vulnerable; there needs to be a stronger commitment to preserve their dignity.”

Despite the humanitarian emergency and the need for more food, shelter, and medical supplies, the restriction on movement of humanitarian agencies in northern Burma has made it difficult to provide sufficient aid to the IDPs. Further exasperating this situation is the expected cuts in aid beginning this month. While the IDPs have been receiving a paltry sum of 12,500 kyat (11.00 USD) per month, starting June 2015 they will receive half that amount as community based organizations (CBOs) struggle with funding and other necessities to meet the needs of the increasing number of IDPs.

In addition, the IDPs’ living conditions will potentially decline as the rainy season begins, with expected increases in dengue fever and other life threatening diseases putting their lives at further risk. Without sufficient medical supplies and a lack of adequate sanitation and nourishment, tens of thousands of people, including children, women and the elderly, are facing dire conditions without access to necessary humanitarian aid.

Meanwhile, Burma Army offensives are continuing unabated, including airstrikes from fighter jets just days after the text of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) was signed in March 2015. “While there is much attention on the signing of the NCA draft text and the Government is being lauded for that, it is impossible for the 120,000 IDPs to share this same optimism as they continue to suffer from military offensives and abusive policies of the Burma Army,” said Khin Ohmar, Coordinator of Burma Partnership. “In addition to calling on the Burma Army to halt all offensives in ethnic areas, the international community needs to immediately urge the Burma Government to allow humanitarian agencies unhindered access to all IDP camps, and these agencies need to work with local CBOs to ensure that there is sufficient humanitarian assistance that is effective in meeting the needs of the IDPs.”

For more information please contact:

Khon Ja: khonja2014@gmail.com
Khin Ohmar: khinohmar@burmapartnership.org

Read the Statement in English and Burmese here

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This post is in: Press Release

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