UN in Talks with Govt over Kachin Conflict

Two KIA soldiers stand guard at their base. (Photo: James Robert Fuller.)

The intensified Burmese army offensive against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has led to further casualties, even as Kachin and central government representatives talk to the United Nations about lessening the burden of war on the civilian population.

Four soldiers were killed and at least 10 injured in an hour-long firefight near Namhsan in northern Shan State’s Kyaukme District, according to a Kachin News Group report released on Wednesday that quoted a KIA source.

The report came a day after the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Regional Coordinator James Lynch met with Minister for Border Affairs Lt-GenThein Htay in Naypyidaw for “frank” discussions, state media reported.

The meeting comes as the UN agencies have been forced to halt shipments of aid supplies to refugees sheltering along Burma’s border with China due to fierce fighting around KIA-controlled areas.

“The government recently stopped UN convoys out of fear for the safety of our staff,” the UNHCR’s spokesperson in Asia, Kitty McKinsey, told The Irrawaddy on Thursday. “We regret that right now we are not able to serve people who need our help and are trying to get access to camps for internally displaced people where no fighting is going on.”

The UNHCR had expanded its presence in Kachin State in February as the fighting continued. It now has offices in Myitykina and Bhamo.

On Tuesday, Zawng Hra, the chairman of the KIA’s political wing, the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), published an open letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemning the Burmese Army offensive as “ethnic cleansing.”

“The Burmese Army is engaged in massive troop buildups and intensifying its offensive against the KIO,” he wrote.

“The time is now crucial for the UN to intervene before the conflict becomes even wider and more complex,” he added, urging the world body to send “observer teams or intermediary teams to the conflict war zones” as well as to the camps for internally displaced people.

On Monday, Mi-24 assault helicopters fired rockets on villages in KIA-controlled territory, causing damage to civilian property, KIA sources reported.

“There is fighting everywhere, almost every day. We are expecting a major offensive from the Burmese Army,” said another KIA source who spoke to The Irrawaddy on Thursday.

During the weekend, two Burmese Army soldiers were killed and four injured in a clashes near the Myitsone confluence in Kachin State, where a controversial Chinese dam project was suspended last September.

Remaining Chinese staff were evacuated in late April due to intense fighting in the area, The Irrawaddy reported.

The dam project has not been canceled and is currently going through an evaluation by an independent commission by experts from the International Commission on Large Dams, Chinese state media reported on Wednesday.

6 Responses to UN in Talks with Govt over Kachin Conflict

  1. ON May 16,Wednesday evening, 42 KIA came into Moe Nhyin and looked for civilian senior officers to kill them. But those authorities in Myitkyinar did not allow the civilian officers and staff,who were encountering risk for their lives, to move to safe area. They are defenceless with only 2-3 army soldiers around their office to guard their safety.
    It is the CHINA from the back stage supporting Kachins to threaten to intensify the internal wars.
    Another case is why Sai Naw Kham , arrested in Lao was sent to China??? According to Vienna Convention 2004 agreement in Malaysia, criminals or prisoners should be sent only to where they belong. So where is ASEAN Rules of Law in handling such security issues. Because China is major power and she can do whatever anarchy to Burmese, Kachin, Shan, Karens?

  2. The war is in the land of Kachin not in the land of Bama which indicate clearly that it is caused by the invasion to the land of Kachin. International communities must understand that Kachins are independent with their own army, Autonomous State within Union. Union Government Troops which is made up of Bama 99% are not welcome and not recognized in Kachin. Their present in Kachin is illegal and purely invasion. Military dictated Burmese Government has been committing the Crimes against humanity for more than 6 decades now under many guises, finally under the Civilian Democratic guise. How long the the International communities will be nullified? All must understand that Supporting Thein Sein Government is the act of sympathizer to the criminals who happily committing the Crimes against Humanity. Enough is enough.

  3. What ever the Myanmar President says in the Parliament, to the media and the international community, the continuing Military operations against the Kachin people shows there is no sincerity in the Government peace initiative.
    There must be a real dark side of military dominated Myanmar Government.
    UN should involve in this conflict to prevent “ethnic cleansing.”

  4. Chinese wants the pipes and dams and jade.

    International community wants Chinese to get whatever they want.

    Burmese wants business (sweatshops and selling out resources)in the country whatever happens to the Kachin.

    Min Aung Hlaing wants to end it soon, it is taking too long already (a year next mionth even though Thein Sein thought few months)and too much talk.

    Chinese, honourable as usual, drills maasive troops every morning loudly to show the refugees they will be finished off if spilled over to Chinese side.

    UNFC prays the Kachins finished off quickly before 10th of June- why that date?- so that they can get on with business.

    UN now feels rather bashful about possible Rwanda again because they feel this time they do not have pluasible deniability of prior knowledge. Cameras are the blooming nuisance.

    In the face of imminent civilian massacre and massive, agressive military assult on own defenceless citizens, the American government says “Green light for Business”.

    The whole of Burmese opposition is deaf and dumb which is better than openly calling for Min Aung Hlaing to finish the Kachin off as qucikly as possible.

    No one wants to sully prospective good money making opputunities by standing for justice or for the money-less Kachin villagers.

    At the end, all will reap what they sow.

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