Activists Decry MP’s Comment on Kachin Conflict

Activists gather in front of the Chinese consulate in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on Jan. 25, 2013, to call for international pressure on the Burmese government to end the conflict in Kachin State. (Photo: Nyein Nyein / The Irrawaddy)

Activists gather in front of the Chinese consulate in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on Jan. 25, 2013, to call for international pressure on the Burmese government to end the conflict in Kachin State. (Photo: Nyein Nyein / The Irrawaddy)

CHIANG MAI, Thailand — Protesters in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai expressed outrage on Friday at remarks made by a lawmaker from Burma’s ruling party calling for the use of extreme force to bring the conflict in the country’s north to an end.

Activists who gathered in front of the US and Chinese consulates in Chiang Mai on Friday morning to call for international pressure on Burma’s government to end the war in Kachin State said that Hla Swe, an Upper House MP from the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), went too far when he said in Parliament on Thursday that peace could only be achieved by crushing the Kachin rebels.

“We condemn any politician who makes such comments,” protest organizer Seng Zin told The Irrawaddy. “Members of Parliament should work for the good of all ethnic peoples, not just for themselves.”

Hla Swe, a former military commander, reportedly said that Burma should follow the example of the US victory over Japan at the end of the Second World War or Sri Lanka’s defeat of the Tamil Tigers in 2009 if it wants to lay the groundwork for lasting peace in the country.

According to MPs from other parties, other USDP legislators and military appointees (who hold 25 percent of the seats in Burma’s Parliament) appeared to agree with Hla Swe’s views.

Friday’s protests were held to call for a negotiated end to the war in Kachin State, which has raged on for more than a year and a half. The Kachin Independence Army (KIA), which resumed fighting against Burmese government forces in June 2011 after the collapse of a 17-year ceasefire, says it wants greater autonomy for the ethnic Kachin people within a federal system.

The protesters, who included members of other ethnic minorities, such as the Shan and Arakanese, said that the international community should put pressure on Burma’s government to begin a nationwide political dialogue on the ethnic issue and allow aid to reach the tens of thousands of displaced civilians living in camps in KIA territory.

At the Chinese consulate, they also called on China’s government to allow war refugees from Kachin State to cross the border into neighboring Yunnan Province.

The protesters then moved to the US consulate, where they urged the US government to reimpose sanctions on Burma in light of the escalation of the Kachin conflict since late last year, when the Burmese military started using air strikes against targets near the KIA stronghold of Laiza.

“The international community should rethink its easing of sanctions until they [the Burmese government] achieves effective changes in the country,” said Seng Zin.

On Thursday, the US embassy in Rangoon echoed the concerns of observers who say that the conflict appears to be taking a turn for the worse.

In a statement that said the US is “deeply concerned” about the conflict, the embassy said that “Despite the Burmese government’s announcement that a ceasefire was to take effect on Jan. 19, media and NGO reports indicate that the Burmese Army continues a military offensive.”

The statement said that both sides should work to stop fighting and begin a political dialogue.

“The United States strongly opposes the ongoing fighting, which has resulted in civilian casualties and undermined efforts to advance national reconciliation,” the embassy said, adding that the government should also allow the UN to bring aid to camps set up for Kachin civilians caught in the crossfire.


22 Responses to Activists Decry MP’s Comment on Kachin Conflict

  1. Hla Swe must be stupid MP with potty mouth and too much power. Does he understand the difference between “Distruction” and “Peace”? It may be achieve temporary stability by ruthless killings which I see as distruction of small society. Only animals will use such brute force to secure it’s territory. Humanbeing has ability to think negotiate and compromise their differences. Without using the brain that humanbeing are gifted, may be Hla Swe is related to brute animal, probably snarling, howling one with sharp teeth. I encourage Burmese people to show their civility and courage to do the right thing and refused Hla Swe proposal.

  2. I support U Hla Swe. The rebel group presents 20,000. What about the peace for 65 million people? They don’t want any peace talk at all. If they really want peace, Kachin state could be a peaceful place already by now. See both sides! Who is resisting to get peace. Not the Government. Other 10 groups got peace and no more fighting.

    • What kind of peace for 65 million? How many month or year going to last long?

    • i do not support war criminal Hla swe. 65 millions Burmese people are behind kachin. Rapist than shwe has only weak min aung laing (puppet , crying face).

    • I am sure you support. You are not Violet but Violent.

    • You do not know about 17 year long peace between SPDC and KIO. That peace meant nothing because it lacked political solution. So, peace talk you are talking about is not lasting peace at all. KIO demanded political dialogue which the Burmese junta always tries avoiding. All ethnics demand political dialogue. The current cease fire agreement will end if the junta is not pursuing real political dialogue to form the real democracy or the real Union of Burma. Thein Sein talks about democracy but his way of building democracy is fake democracy. Economic liberalization alone is not democracy. We the ethnics did not ask for money but self determination and autonomy which is political, not economy. We ask nothing more than the Panglong Agreement promised us.

  3. They already planned this for a long time. To wipe out the ethnic rebels, first they announce ceasefire with other group and fight Kachin to death, then they will fight SSA and then the KNU and so on.

  4. This kind of mentality that keeps the country burning from civil war. They might won the battle but they will never crush the spirit of the ethnic people as long as they kill every single person. Make peace not war.

  5. At last USDP shows its true colour. Even if you put the crooked dog’s tail in a metal pipe for as long as twelve years, metal pipe may goes crook but the tail will remain the same.

  6. Why do Burma military leaders keep oppressing, persecuting, brutalizing, and killing ethnic nationalities, including the Kachin, in Burma for over half a century? What is the hidden agenda behind such a campaign of persecution against ethnic nationalities? In a public statement in 1992, Major General Ket Sein apparently proclaimed the intention of the military junta: In ten years all Karens shall be dead. If you want to see a Karen, you will have to go to a museum in Yangon (Benedict Roger 2004: 40). The same regime, which determined to finish the Karen and all ethnic groups, has been now waging a major offensive against the Kachin.

    The barbaric Burma army killed the following Kachin innocent civilians: Hpu Seng Du, Shawng Lat, Lasang Yaw, Lasang Gam (brothers), Maran Zau Ja, Kareng Naw Chyan, Kala Tu Awng, Magawng Naw San, Gumraw Tang Gun, Lamau Brang Dut, Napaw Bawk Tawng, Labya Brang Seng, Ja Seng In, Nan Naw, Mahkaw Gam Aung, Malang Yaw Htung, Nhkum Bawk Naw, Hpauyu Doi Aung, Galau Bawm Yaw, and Maran Kaw Mai. There might possibly be more. In addition, the same barbaric army committed sexual violence against at least 61 Kachin women and children and half of them were murdered after being raped (Kachin Women’s Association, Thailand (October 2012). We have never ever heard that the KIA or the KNLA personnels committed such inhuman sexual violence against girls and women. No question, Burma army is rapist.

    All told together, Burma army tried before, tries now, and shall try to finish all ethnic nationalities, and ethnic nationalities must at the same time make all possible efforts to protect themselves from the elimination of this barbaric Burma army. We have the right to defend ourself from being finished and being seen only in museum.

  7. Mr Hla Shwe,How did you become to MP? Your mouth maybe bigger than your brain.KIO had been fighting the civil war since after WW2,When BIA taking the order from Japanese army,Kachin people are fighting the Japanese for freedom.That kind of irresponsible person is MP in upper house? Our nation is in big danger.

  8. Finally, USDP shows of it true identity. Myanmar will never get peace if majority Burman still have Burmanization mindset.

  9. Oh my gosh. Hla Swe is as dangerous as Hitler in the time of WW II.

  10. Kachin must also be armed like Wa..

  11. “Hla Swe, a former military commander, reportedly said that Burma should follow the example of the US victory over Japan at the end of the Second World War or Sri Lanka’s defeat of the Tamil Tigers in 2009 if it wants to lay the groundwork for lasting peace in the country.”

    Hla swe is uneducated so he makes a reference from Sri lankas’ defeat of the Tamil Tiger in 2009 which is internationally recognized as war crime against humanity. Responsible Sri Lankas government must be punished by world people very soon as all war criminals can not be escaped. Hla swe is war criminal as well and we, all Burmese will not forget you for your sin. Hla swe is rubbish, unethical and arrogant sithar in Burmese history.

  12. Why an army should not fight the armed rebels to the end. It is every army’s job to end the rebellion.

  13. Than Swe and Maung AYE control the army and power. President Thein Sein is used for cheating international community to lift sanction. They need Suu Kyi to work with. They used her for their good. They not going to give power to her even she win in 2015. Their target is eradicate all ethic nationalities by three way. Kill them, expel them in the form of refugee to other country or give up their identity and transform to Burmese. The only hope we have in Burma is only when 88 generation Burmese leaders who understand what is peace,( harmony and undisturbedness from fear )have power in Burma . As long as people whose mentor ta khin ko daw hmaing who said my Burmese fellow, we Burmese are smaller than this ethic nationalities combine, you have eradicate all ethic nationalities by using various tactics so that only Burmese and Buddhism have own the whole country which we get free from British. So U Nu and Newin , Than Swe and now Thien Sein Even Suu Kyi agree on that.

  14. What is the underlying secret of KIA for resisting to negotiate and hold the peace conference with government, while the others ethnic armed groups have already been in peace and settlement. This is the first and foremost fact to be taken account. And to review the fighting in the past between military and KIA, the KIA is the one who started fighting. In addirion to fighting, bombing, raping, and destroying a number of pubic sectors are originally committed by the KIA. The government have to take accountability for all damages. Now the number of KIA is getting bigger and stronger. So the main point is that if the government could stop them from what they have been doing against the public. Think about it what will happen in the next three or four years.

  15. I strongly demand to demolish the 4 bama warrior kings in Nay-pyi-daw to be demolished. It is the symbol of bama military thugs’ bamanization ( one nation, one people, one language and one religion) from than shwe and his dog, Hla swe. They both are arrogant war criminals.

  16. Conflict to end, demonstration or protest. The reality is ” All the other ethnic minorities have to FIGHT at this time the common enemy Burma military. Shan, Karan ,Chin ,Mon ,Arakan and Kachin are attack. Now saw true colour of USDP and Daw Syi also quite. So what you all are waiting for. Immediately at this all attack..Attack..

  17. The Burmese Military’s way of negotiation is “Lay down your arms,give me everything that you have. Then we’ll talk about peace”. And remember; the military is very notorious in breaking promises. Remember what happened to “Kawthoolay State”.

  18. The ethnic armies shall not be able to win the war against Burma army, but Burma army is at the same time not strong enough to defeat the ethnic armies, which currently have more than 60,000 brave men and women in uniform and who are more than ready to sacrifice their lives for their homelands and their people. I was not upset by Hla Swe when he emotionally made such a foolish statement in the parliament, primarily because Burma army (he was part of this barbaric army) has been unable to defeat the ethnic armies during the past 60 years of fighting, and no question that Burma army shall never defeat the ethnic armies as the history of the fighting in the past 60 years proved it.

    He knew that the LTTE was wiped up, but he did not know the difference between the nature, reason, location, and direction of the armed revolution by LTTE and the brave ethnic armies in Burma, and he unwisely made such statement, which must without question unite all ethnic armies more than ever in their armed resistance to the barbaric Burma army.

    A practical question to be asked is not whether Burma army can defeat the ethnic armies or not but how many lives shall be lost before Burma army realizes that there is no any military solution to the conflicts but a genuine political dialogue, which is the central demand of the KIA, is the only solution to end the longest running civil war in the world. Burma army has been in fight against the ethnic armies for the past 60 years, but it defeated none of them.

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