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AIPMC calls for urgent peace talks in Myanmar and real action by ASEAN

By ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus  •  June 17, 2011

The ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus – AIPMC strongly condemns the decision by the Myanmar government to dispatch heavily armed troops into Kachin State and the concomitant outbreak of fighting, which brings an end to seventeen years of ceasefire between the government and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).

– We are deeply concerned about a return to war between the Myanmar army and the KIA, says Eva Kusuma Sundari, president of the AIPMC. We call for an immediate end to sending troops into Kachin areas and urgent peace talks between the parties.

The war in Kachin State demonstrates that the new Myanmar government, elected in a sham election in November 2010, has not changed its ways and will continue to rule by force rather than seek a power-sharing agreement with ethnic nationalities. There is no progress towards democracy in the country as long as the new parliament remains unable to act on behalf of the population, and the new government is already failing in its responsibility to protect the people.

Recent fighting has caused internal displacement and a wave of refugees across the border to China. Almost one thousand people have already reached the Kachin town of Mai Jay Yang along the Kachin-China border, while another 150 people who moved into China were forced to return. Many others had their cell phones confiscated by Chinese police.

AIPMC calls on China to stop these forced repatriations and to provide protection to Kachin refugees fleeing fighting. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees-UNHCR and other international bodies must be granted access to the border areas of China and Myanmar for the protection of civilians and humanitarian relief.

The outbreak of fighting in Kachin State comes in addition to ongoing conflicts in Karen and Mon areas in eastern and southern border areas with Thailand and represents an expansion of the conflict area in Myanmar up to Kachin State and the Myanmar-China border. Recent events are also a warning to Myanmar’s neighbours, including Thailand, to reconsider any plans to repatriate refugees from Myanmar.

ASEAN leaders urgently need to put the border crisis in Myanmar on top of the ASEAN agenda in order to seek an end to the conflicts in the region, and dialogue and national reconciliation between the government, ethnic nationalities and other opposition groups. Most importantly, Indonesian foreign minister Marty Natalegawa, in his capacity as chairman of ASEAN, and other ASEAN leaders must now reject Myanmar’s request to chair ASEAN in 2014.

For further comment/media interviews with AIPMC Parliamentarians, do contact Aticha Wongwian at +66 838863494 (Thailand), Edmund Teoh +60123750974 (Malaysia), Agung Putri Astrid +62 81514006416 (Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia, Philippines)

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This post is in: Press Release

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