Burma must end civil war ahead of reforms
By Zin Linn
Feb 22, 2012 12:33AM UTC
really happened to people in Kachin State? Why don’t the government’s armed
forces stop fighting there? Who is taking advantage of this unreasonable war?
There are lots of questions relating to this inhumane war launched by Burmese
government against the Kachin ethnic people.
current government has genuine political reform plan, first of all it should
call a unilateral ceasefire to show sympathy on the war victims and innocent
civilians. It should think over the result of this war, a waste of many lives.
hope of setting up political dialogue, the KIO signed a ceasefire agreement
with the central government on February 24, 1994. However, no political
dialogue happened in the 17-year ceasefire and the KIO was pressured to give up
its weapons and transform into a Burmese Army-controlled Border Guard Force
(BGF) ahead of the 2010 November 7 election. The KIO turned down the BGF plan,
saying it cannot accept weakening its armed wing.
officials repeatedly said the civil war would spread across Kachin and Shan
states if the government expanded its aggressive offensive against the KIO. The
latest series of armed clashes in Kachin state have prompted observers to think
that warfare in the border regions may not be avoidable.
week, over 1,500kg of rice recently harvested by farmers in war-torn Kachin
state were set ablaze by government soldiers in Waingmaw Township on the
Myitkyina-Bhamo road, eyewitnesses told Kachin News Group.
February 16 and 17, soldiers from the Meiktila-based Light Infantry Division
No. 88 ransacked a great quantity of rice paddies in Mali Yang village. The
arson attack followed heavy fighting in the area between the Burmese army and
fighters from Brigade 5 of the Kachin Independence Army.
or destroying farmers’ crops is a common policy of Burma Army to carry out
communal penalties in conflict zones.
the government says it is on the democratic reform path, its armed forces
continued destroying civilians’ properties and killing unarmed civilians this
month. Even though the battle between the KIO and government troops seemed to
ease earlier this year, the intensity of the warfare has gradually increased
over the past few weeks.
has been particularly intense in northern Shan State along the proposed route
of the Shwe gas pipeline project.
talks between the two sides which were expected to be held last week failed to
take place after the Burmese government delegation objected to meeting again in
the government has been attempting through two peacemaking teams, the key
ethnic rebel groups, Karen National Union (KNU) and Kachin Independence
Organization (KIO) are still unconvinced of the move for political settlement.
ethnic armed groups do not trust the government’s offer of peace talks. The
fact is that while offering a peace plan, the government has been increasing
its deployment of armed forces in the conflict zones. Besides, the Burma Army’s
soldiers are on the loose, committing lots of crimes and human rights abuses in
the ethnic territories.
difficulties of ending the war against the KNU and the KIO are entwined with
the natural resources profits in the respective ethnic states. The Myitsone Dam
venture and Shwe-gas twin pipeline development projects are entangled with war against
KIO and the Dawei deepsea port project needs a security guarantee from the KNU.
the government wants to show the international community that their peacemaking
course is on track By doing so, the regime could earn the trust from the Western
democracies and sanctions may lift at the same time.
the end of a 17-year ceasefire between the Burmese government and the KIO in
June 2010, more than 70,000 war refugees have abandoned their homes in native
Kachin and northern Shan state. The majority of the refugees have fled to KIO
areas where the UN and international NGOs have been unreachable.