Burma Partnership, Strengthening Cooperation for a Free Burma
Signup Now!
Join our mailing list for latest news and information about Burma.

Kachin Organizations/Civil Society Groups Call for Investigation into Burma Army’s War Crimes in Laiza

By Kachin civil society groups  •  January 15, 2013

We, the undersigned Kachin organisations, wish to express our grave concern over the widespread human rights violations being committed by the Burmese army against Kachin civilians, including the ongoing indiscriminate shelling of residential areas of Laiza, which recently led to the death of three civilians aged between 14 and 65, and injury of four others.

Since June 2011, when the 17-year ceasefire between the Burmese government and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) was broken, widespread human rights violations by the Burmese army, including sexual violence against women and children, extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances, have resulted in extensive displacement of over 100,000 civilians. Since December 14, 2012, there has been an escalation of violence, in total disregard for international human rights and humanitarian standards, including bombings by jet fighters of both military and civilian objectives around Laiza.

On 27 December 2012, the Burmese army shelled mortars on a village, resulting in the death of U Maji Tu, a 41-year-old man, while 3 other civilians were seriously injured. On January 14 2013, the Burmese troops fired a 105 mm mortar on Hka Chyang Block 4 residential area of Laiza. This targeting of civilians resulted in the death of assistant pastor Malang Yaw, 65 years old, IDP Nhkum Bawk Naw, 40 years old, and Hpauyu Doi San Awng, a 14-year-old child. During the incident, 4 other civilians were injured, including a 2 year-old and 8 year-old boy.  The Burmese army again mortared in the evening on January 14, 2013;  the
civilians are afraid and are constructing bunkers. The repeated attacks on a civilian population suggest  that these acts are intentional, and that the Burmese army is targetting civilians.

These civilian deaths and injuries highlight the lack of protection for the over 60,000  internally displaced persons sheltering in temporary camps in KIO territory, who are now living in terror of being targeted by the Burmese army.

We would like to highlight the total lack of consideration for international humanitarian law by the Burmese military, including Geneva Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War which states in its article 27 that “protected persons are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons, their honour, their family rights, their religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs. They shall at all times be humanely treated” and shall be protected especially against all acts of violence or threats. Moreover, according to Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the incidents described here are likely to amount to war crimes as they constitute “wilful killing”, “intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities” and “attacking or bombarding, by whatever means, towns, villages, dwellings or buildings which are undefended and which are not military objectives”.

We  would also like to remind the Burmese government that “distinction must be made at all times between persons taking part in the hostilities and members of the civilian population” and that “it is prohibited to launch attacks against the civilian populations as such” (General Assembly Resolution on Human Rights, December 19th 1968).

“These mortar attack on civilians in the Kachin town of Laiza,  which have resulted in three deaths and the wounding of several others, amounts to the war crime of murder” said Moon Nay Li, coordinator of the Kachin Women’s Association Thailand.

Therefore, we would like to issue the following recommendations to the Thein Sein government:

  • Immediately put an end to the use of heavy weapons such as jet fighters and mortars with the purpose of targeting civilians;
  • Immediately put an end to the military offensive and escalation against the KIO/KIA headquarters in Laiza during the peace negotiations;
  • Immediately allow international and local NGOs to access the Kachin internally displaced persons’ camps in order to deliver humanitarian assistance.

We  would also like to recommend to parliament members, including the National League for Democracy’s representatives and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to raise their voices against the ongoing human rights abuses against the Kachin civilians, in accordance with their duty to protect every citizen of the Union.

Finally, we would like to issue the following recommendations to the United Nations and the international community:

  • Consider urgently the ongoing and widespread human rights abuses being committed against Kachin civilians by the Burmese military, and take concrete legal and diplomatic actions to put an end to this critical situation;
  • Immediately stop providing the Burmese government with heavy weapons that are being used to commit human rights violations against Kachin civilians ;
  • Consider supporting the design and implementation of a UN-backed independent commission of inquiry on the widespread human rights abuses being committed against the Kachin people, as suggested by the Special Rapporteur on Burma, in order to put an end to impunity.

For more information please contact:

(1)     Moon Nay Li (KWAT) +66 (0) 856251912 or kwat.coordinator@gmail.com
(2)     Naw San (AKSYU) +66 (0)848119594 or aksyumaesot@gmail.com

From the following Kachin organizations:

1.      All Kachin Students and Youth Union (AKSYU)
2.      JLH Singapore
3.      Kachin Alliance (USA)
4.      Kachin Center (Thailand)
5.      Kachin Community in Thailand (KCT)
6.      Kachin Development Network Group (KDNG)
7.      Kachin Development Group (KDG)
8.      Kachin Environmental Organization (KEO)
9.      Kachin Lawyers’ Group (KLG)
10.     Kachin News Group (KNG)
11.     Kachin National Organization- United Kingdom (KNO-UK)
12.     Kachin Peace Network (KPN)
13.     Kachin Women’s Association-Thailand (KWAT)
14.     Kachin Women Peace Network (KWPN)
15.     Kachin Women Union (KWU)
16.     Pan Kachin Development Society (PKDS)

Tags: , , , , ,

This post is in: Crimes Against Humanity, Press Release

Related Posts
Burma Army Displays Blatant Disregard for 21st Century Panglong Peace Process
On Union Day, Reappraisal of the Peace Process is Needed
ရွမ္းျပည္တိုိးတက္ေရးပါတီ၊ ရွမ္းျပည္တပ္မေတာ္ SSPP/SSA ထုတ္ျပန္ေၾကညာခ်က္
Time for the Government to Accept the Reality of Human Rights Problems, Take Effective Measures and Move Forward
Kachin Region: War Torn Displaced Village Profiles