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Kachin Community Calls on US Secretary of State to Press Regime to End Attacks and Human Rights Violations

By All Kachin Students and Youth Union, Kachin Centre, Kachin Development Networking Group, Kachin Environment Organization, Kachin National Organization, Kachin Women's Association – Thailand, Pan Kachin Development Society and Kachin News Group  •  November 30, 2011

The Kachin community has appealed to US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to raise the issue of armed conflict and human rights violations in Kachin State on her trip to Burma starting today. Eight organizations, including women, youth, environment, media and community groups, sent a letter to Secretary Clinton yesterday in which they explained the dire situation in Kachin State in northern Burma.

Since fighting erupted in June of this year, breaking the 17-year-long ceasefire agreement between the Kachin Independence Army and the Burma Army, an estimated 50,000 civilians have fled from the fighting and increased human rights violations, including torture, arbitrary arrest, forced portering, extrajudicial killings, looting of property, and the burning of houses, schools and religious buildings. The continue to live in crowded camps with poor sanitation and hygiene, lack of clean water, insufficient food and nutrition and lack of proper shelter and warm clothes.

“The regime has engaged in a series of charm offensives aimed at winning over the international community and the United States in particular, in an attempt to have sanctions lifted. However, these charm offensives have not resulted in positive change in Kachin State,” said the Kachin groups in their letter.

The organizations collectively asked Secretary Clinton to call on the regime to immediately stop its offensives in Kachin State; declare a nationwide ceasefire agreement with all ethnic groups through an open and transparent process; immediately convene a second Panglong Conference in order to establish a genuine Federal Union that ethnic people have been calling for; and provide protection and allow access for domestic and cross-border humanitarian aid to civilians fleeing the armed conflict.

“The international community is talking about all the supposedly positive changes happening in our country. But as far as we are concerned, nothing has really changed in Burma as long as ethnic people including the Kachin continue to suffer from Burma Army attacks and atrocious human rights violations,” said Mr. Naw San, General Secretary of All Kachin Students and Youth Union (AKSYU). “Secretary Clinton has a unique opportunity to really do something for the Kachin and all other ethnic nationalities, and we hope she will raise these crucial issues with the regime.”

The letter was sent by AKSYU, Kachin Centre, Kachin Development Networking Group, Kachin Environment Organization, Kachin National Organization, Kachin News Group, Kachin Women’s Association – Thailand, and 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

Read the letter to Secretary Clinton here.

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This post is in: Crimes Against Humanity, Press Release

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