Kachin Groups Urge US, Suu Kyi to Stop Kachin War

Kachin refugees flee fighting between the KIO and government troops in August. (PHOTO: The Irrawaddy)

Kachin refugees flee fighting between the KIO and government troops in August. (PHOTO: The Irrawaddy)

WASHINGTON—Amid growing concerns over a worsening in the fighting between Burma’s government and Kachin ethnic rebels, overseas Kachin groups have launched public appeals to the US government and Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to intervene and pressure the Burmese army into ending its offensive.

In open letter on Wednesday the US-based Kachin Alliance urged President Barack Obama to take steps to force the Burmese government to stop its assault, which now threatens to overrun the headquarters of the Kachin Independence Army and has displaced an estimated 100,000 local Kachin villagers.

“[E]thnic and civil society groups and peace activists have made appeals to the Thein Sein government to put an end to this civil war […] The international community has also called for restraint, but the ground and aerial bombardments continue unabated,” the group said.

“[But] it appears the Burmese government, aided and abetted by the Chinese, is seeking a military solution rather than a political one,” it said.

The group asked the US to condemn the use of airpower by the Burmese military and demand that it ends the fighting and open negotiations with the rebels. The safety of displaced Kachin villagers should be guaranteed, the Kachin Alliance said.

It also called on the US to reconsider its diplomatic, economic and planned military ties with Naypyidaw. Kachin organizations and other US ethnic communities from Burma will demonstrate at the State Department and the White house on Jan. 12 to highlight their demands.

There was no immediate reaction from the White House. The State Department said on Wednesday that is was urging the warring parties to lay down arms and open talks.

“We are encouraging both the government and the rebels to end the violence, to commit to a process of compromise, discussion, as has been done in other parts of Burma. That is still what we are working on,” said State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland.

US-Burma ties have only recently thawed after years of heavy western sanctions against Burma’s military-led regime, and Obama visited Rangoon in November amid international praise for the reform agenda of President Thein Sein’s quasi-civilian government.

Concerns remain about the plans of Burma’s military and whether Thein Sein can assert power over the army, which has fought battles with the country’s ethnic groups for decades.

On Thursday, 23 overseas Kachin organizations sent an open letter to Aung San Suu Kyi, in which they repeated an earlier appeal to the NLD leader to pressure the government into stopping its Kachin State offensive.

The Nobel laureate has been largely silent on the war in Kachin State, which has greatly intensified since mid December. At an Independence Day speech on Jan 4, Suu Kyi was conspicuously silent on the conflict.

“[We] request that you clarify your position or at least elaborate upon your understanding of recent events so that we can develop constructive dialogue on these matters with you,” the Kachin groups said.

“All Kachin people are waiting for your detailed comments on these matters,” the letter said.

The groups said that Suu Kyi’s lack of response so far was a major concern for the Kachin and other ethnic groups in the country, who had hoped that recent reforms and new political leadership in Burma would bring positive change for them after decades of conflict.

17 Responses to Kachin Groups Urge US, Suu Kyi to Stop Kachin War

  1. Suu Kyi, the champion of human rights in Burma, stunned ethnic groups, rights groups, and academicians by her silence in the face of such a terrible campaign of ethnocide terribly but freely perpetrated and perpetuated by the Thein Sein-led regime against the Kachin, her fellow citizens. It has, however, increasingly become clear that she has been neutralized after she joined the nominally civilian government. It is understandable after all that she is, of course, one of the Burmans, whose former and present leaderships always try to finish ethnic groups, including the Kachin. In return, she indeed lost the respect and trust of all ethnic groups, who roughly make up 45 percent of the entire population in the country and whose homelands make up 60 percent of the entire country. When she was under house arrest and when even her own party members abandoned her, left her party, and formed their own parties, ethnic groups remained loyal to her and her party, NLD, at the expense of oppression, persecution, brutalization, and imprisonment, if not killing. She now turned her face from ethnic groups and abandoned them at all.

    • True. Well comment indeed. We all share your point of view, Salai.

      • Golden Owl,

        Being on the side of the barbaric military, associated with her intentional silence in the face of ethnocide, Suu Kyi, not unlike U Nu, shall surely be remembered in history as the betrayer of all ethnic groups, automatically implying that the gap between the Burman and the ethnic groups is now wider, greater, and deeper than ever before. We, the ethnic groups, shall never forget and forgive her betrayal.

        When the Burman leaders continue a campaign of ethnocide against the ethnic groups, the Chinese from the north and the Indians from the west continue invading Burma with an undeclared war. Now almost 50 % of the entire population in Mandalay are already Chinese, and that city is like Macau. If things go this way for the next 100 years, Burma shall possibly become second Tibet in SE Asia. Then, the Burman and the ethnic groups shall be gone together and be seen in the museum. I hope Thein Sein and Suu Kyi know about this danger better than I do.

        I by the way hear news from an unconfirmed but reliable source, saying that one army helicopter (MI-35) has been shot down by the Kachin hero (KIA army) on January 11 at 3:00 pm. I wish they shoot down more!

    • Time to organize peace protests and demos all over Burma. Will ASSK do it? Never in her entire record so far has she organised any mass action. Always reacted to the regime’s actions, never proactive. Did she even have a strategy or plan ever? So why break a life time of habit? Her actions are set to be determined and dictated by the regime, now combined with |Western and big business interests.

      Others must do it, or the minorities’ distrust of the majority will be justified.
      Time for SOLIDARITY! UNITE!

      • I’m with you, Moe Aung. We need to see ASSK as she is, not in the glorified reflection of her martyred father. She has apparently sold her soul in the hope of securing the ultimate political prize: the Presidency. What will happen when she’s spent all her political capital as Nobel peace laureate & daughter of Burma’s independence hero?

        • The tragedy that’s ASSK is that she can no longer even claim to be a moral leader since she has become so entranced by just the mesmerizing mirage of potential power. This makes Gene Sharp and countless others wrong in the first part of their judgment of the Lady. Many were however right about the lack of a winnable strategy.

          From simply reacting to the regime’s repression and unfolding events she has become a willing and ace collaborator furthering their agenda at the expense of ordinary folks all over Burma. Alas, the statue on the pedestal has feet of clay.

  2. George Than Setkyar Heine

    Daw Suu’s in IDLE and SILENT MODE as well.
    Staying out of sight, much less the fight (Kachin Crisis) citing LACK of INVITATION as well is UNETHICAL, UNFAIR and certainly a BREACH of TRUST not to mention DERELICTION of DUTY on the part of the CHOSEN NATIONAL LEADER of BURMA on whom the people of Burma including the Kachins as well have HEAPED much HOPE, ADMIRATION, LOVE and RELIANCE for their DESTINY, FUTURE and POSTERITY as well.
    A FRIEND in NEED is a FRIEND INDEED lest Daw Suu forgets.
    The KIA/KACHINS certainly USE Daw Suu’s HELP and INTERVENTION in this HOUR of NEED
    before LAIZA FALLS into the hands of CHINA CHOSEN C-in-C of the BURMA ARMY today.
    KIA and ABSDF are HOLDING the FORT until today of course,
    The August 8, 1988 (8888) nationwide uprisings ABSDF has given birth to ABSDF, FOUNDED in 1988 on the Burma-Thailand borders.
    In case LAIZA CAPITULATES the ABSDF as well would FALL and GO into OBLIVION no doubt.
    And Daw Suu should be PUT on TRIAL for TREASON no less as the August 8, 1988 (8888) NATIONWIDE UPRISING was the VEHICLE on which Daw Suu RODE all the WAY until she JUMPED SHIP at Naypyidaw on April Fool’s Day 2012.
    Thein Sein’s government REFUSING to GIVE ACCESS to INTERNATIONAL AID for Kachin refugees fleeing the war is also DUBIOUS and VIOLATES HUMAN RIGHTS LAW no less.
    And the US should PLAY a SUBSTANTIAL ROLE (intervention) specifically and VIA the UN in this matter as well given the UNFAIR/UNLAWFUL NATURE of the CONFLICT citing BREAKING the INTERNATIONAL LAW for using BANNED WEAPONRY (jet fighters, helicopter gunships, heavy artillery etc.).
    Signing ceasefires only would HOLD NO WATER as well.

    • “..the August 8, 1988 (8888) NATIONWIDE UPRISING was the VEHICLE on which Daw Suu RODE all the WAY until she JUMPED SHIP at Naypyidaw on April Fool’s Day 2012.”

      Sadly all too true. She is no Joan of Arc, nor Mandela, least of all like her father. But I wouldn’t go as far as putting her on trial for treason. I bet she knows her limitations, Alas even her moral stand, her forte and only virtue it seems, has fallen from grace. Tragic.

  3. This military back Government is creating this conflict desperately to bring the Kachins to their knee, not willing to talk equally but under the military pressure with grinning crooky face. Whenever there is a talk, there is heavy Government Troop attacks to KIA simultaneously. The invitation for peace talks usually come along with the heavy military operation. The Kachin villages have been looted torched, the Kachins churches have been humiliated and destroyed to the ground. Kachin innocent civilians tortured raped and killed. All Kachins villages have been emptied and flushed out to the IDP camps along the isolated corners away from the medias where they are summarily killed by the airstrikes(which is happening now) and for the rest in the rodent barrows starve to dead. This Crime against humanity will surely tarnish the civilized world if there is no in time actions by the International Communities. Ceasefire without International Monitoring will just give advantage to the Brutal Barbaric Government troops who are already at the door steps of the Kachin HQ to commit final blow to Kachins. The Kachins have no choice, but to keep shooting which will prolong their lives a little bit longer.

  4. Daw Su needs to seriously discussing with Gen Min Aung Hlaing first before she accepts Government invitation if President U Thein Sein invited her for to involve peace negotiation between Gen Min Aung Hlaing and KIA.
    The problem is President U Thein Sein does not have power over Military.
    If you dig deeper and then you can be found more problem it’s who is actually controlling over Military. Gen Min Aung Hlain looks like reasonable, likeable and quiet person in photos from media. I have no clue about what made him becomes idiot person.
    The real problem is Army because Gen Min Aung Hlaing does not take order from President U Thein Sein.
    Without any change within Military, I don’t think true peace and reconciliation with KIA and other minority ethnic armed groups. Army is just maintaining truce with other minority ethnics’ armed group because Burmese Army can not open war in all corners.
    One thing can be becoming clear in Burmese military it’s if ex dictatorship Than Shwe died or detained him. The problem is started by Than Shwe’s constitution which Military is staying above of the legitimate Government.
    Kachin leaders who blame Daw Su for not intervene between Burmese Army and KIA are do not understand current Burmese political situation. What Daw Su can do with Army even former General President U Thein Sein himself helplessly becoming by-stander?
    How many times she needs to speak out about stop attacking on KIA and other minority ethnics’ armed group?
    Gen Min Aung Hlaing is doing his own way and even he does not bother by what President U Thein Sein’s peace negotiation delegation.
    It’s depending on President U Thein Sein which he must consolidate authority on Military.
    Most of problems with minority ethnics’ group will be sorted out once Military was fully under control of President.
    All you need to do it encourage President U Thein Sein for take control over Military. U Thein Sein is president and he is most responsible person in Burma for peace and reconciliation between Burmese military and minority ethnics’ Army.
    You can say Burmese way of Democracy is wrong from beginning with Military running independently by ex dictator Than Shwe and his puppet Generals.
    I believe President U Thein Sein is doing at his best but he needs to more scarify for country future.
    I must suggest to International and our exile media to call out Gen Min Aung Hlaing for to interview and ask him what is his goal with KIA and what he wants it.
    Gen Min Aung Hlaing should not hide from media and he must clear his policy with minority ethnics’ armed group.

  5. Please! Stop crying. She is deaf now. She is no longer hearing our cry. She enjoys her life in Naypyitaw. She is no longer with us but with the military junta.

  6. United Nationalities Federal Council and the 88 Generation are the only groups which tstand with you. Not NLD. NLD is longer standing with us.

  7. Just look at Syria. Are there any responses from the international community (especially the U.N) on Syrian govt airstrikes on rebels? More than 50,000 people has died in less than 2 years and yet nothing more than just verbal intervene (special envoy? useless). You can keep on dreaming….for intervene and pressure unless both sides stop fighting…I mean both sides.. not just the military but also the KIA.

    • And you are laughing at the Kachins. Right? Do you know where the Syrian rebels got their weapons? Indeed, there are some governments behind the Syrian rebels. The Syrian rebels are trying to claim the whole nation but the Kachins are fighting for their own land and for their freedom which was robbed by the superior-minded Burmese military governments. This is a fair fight for the Kachins. Unfortunately, Thein Sein has upper hands.

  8. Suu Kyi, the silence is deafning. You show your true colours as a Bamah now. Shame on you, Charlatan.

    • To be fair, she does not stand for the Bamar either. Look at Thwe Thwe Win, as Bamar as it comes, holding tight that reluctant Aung San Suu Kyi and the she still was treacherous to the poor farmers regarding the Lapadaung Land Confiscation and Poisoning Programme of The Tayoke and Sit-tut any way.

      She was, and is, and will be always hollow. That’s all. To be fair, she was , is and will be nobody.Has not really any understanding or education. or even lived in the country let alone meet various nationalities until recently and then in the adored status.

      Perhaps people should stop thinking of her altogether and find their own voice as it the r=truly most precious thing. YOUR OWN VOICE.

      For those who can, watch the Wizard of Oz. Cannily similar. The searched for “Wizard: was nothing more than an impotent imposter, and the power is with the people all the time. Only they have to realize it. Soon as they do ( realise that the power is indeed their own all the time), they own the power. Believe in your own selves. Forget all these sell out crowds, Aung San Suu Kyi, 88’s, etc, who are all on Thein Sein’s side. Nothing racial. That is simply the way they are.

      But the Kachin affair goes beyond those people. American led International business communities is obviously siding with the Chinese whose war the mercenary Bamar Sit-tut is fighting with unmentionable loss to rout the KIA. Extravagant and deep in debt as they are, for the global economy to keep moving, they need China to be functional.They want the Chinese to have anything they want, Dam for energy, Port and Pipe and Rails for transport and energy.

      For that end, so long as the people of Burma are sufficiently selfish and ignorant and covetous to look upon most inhumane killing of people with all out professional army, and Air Force using full arsenals at their disposal, they are not going to say boo.

      In other word the reaction of the international communities including the “western” governments and a]international organizations like the United Nations depends very much and primarily upon how much rightful outrage the public of Burma feels about the open aggression of inhumane and unconscionable nature with or without any thing whatsoever are the actions of Aung San Suu Kyi, NLD or the 88’s.

      The current absence of public outrage on the most blatant inhumane acts will give the message to he world that these people of Burma, regardless of ethnicity are so engrossed in their own greed and expectations in their own mind that it will in future be a simple matter to pick any one they want to do their biddings or to get eliminated as just now with Kachin.

      So never mind that unworthy woman, mind yourself. People MUST speak up. People, that is the power lies. But only if they choose to use it. Only if they realise they own it. But they do.

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