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New Film Calls for Political Dialogue for Lasting Peace in Burma’s Kachin State

By Burma Partnership  •  September 21, 2013

To coincide with the International Day of Peace, Burma Partnership launched a new documentary film today entitled, “Guns, Briefcases and Inequality: The Neglected War in Kachin State.” The film demonstrates the need for the government of Burma to engage in meaningful political dialogue with all ethnic nationalities on equal terms, including discussing amendments to the 2008 Constitution. These are necessary in order to address the underlying causes of armed conflict: self-determination, the lack of ethnic rights, and inequality, and to move towards lasting peace throughout the country.

“The ongoing armed conflict and human rights abuses, including the horrendous sexual violence against Kachin women, are undermining the political reforms in the country,” said Khin Ohmar, Coordinator of Burma Partnership. “It is hard to believe that the government is serious about achieving a nationwide ceasefire when the Burma Army continues to attack civilians even as it’s Union Peace Working Committee is meeting with non-state armed groups to discuss a ceasefire.”

The short documentary film also highlights how development projects and natural resource management are exacerbating armed conflict and human rights violations in ethnic areas, without adequate means to justice for the people.

“The international community has disempowered itself by discarding sources of leverage and by not institutionalizing and embedding in all their agreements the commitment to international humanitarian law and human rights principles,” said Debbie Stothard in the film, Coordinator of Altsean-Burma and a Working Group member of Burma Partnership. “So the regime itself is getting the message that, yes international community will make statements, but they are actually not going to act on those statements because they are much more interested in engaging economically with Burma and getting access to energy and natural resources.”

The film was written and directed by Daniel Quinlan. It features interviews with Kachin internally displaced persons (IDPs), civil society and community-based organizations, leaders of ethnic non-state armed groups and advocates for human rights and democracy in Burma.

The film can be viewed online here.

Burma Partnership also released a complementary briefing paper, entitled “Whose Guns Are Silent?: An Analysis of Burma’s Fractured Peace Process.” The paper provides a more in depth analysis of the flawed nature of the peace process and provides recommendations for lasting peace in Burma. It can be downloaded here.

For more information, please contact:

Khin Ohmar, Coordinator of Burma Partnership: khinohmar@burmapartnership.org or +959450063714 (Burma)

Jessica Stevens, Media and Communications Officer: jessica@burmapartnership.org or +66884307032 (Thailand)

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This post is in: Peace and National Reconciliation, Press Release

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