Kachin Rights Group Urges End to Military-to-Military Ties with Myanmar Army

By Nyein Nyein 21 August 2017

CHIANG MAI, Thailand — The Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT) urged the international community to end military-to-military ties with the Myanmar Army, highlighting recent human rights violations faced by villagers in Kachin State’s Mogaung Township.

More than 1,000 villagers from Kasung village in Mogaung Township were displaced after Myanmar Army troops entered the village on August 11, reportedly killing one villager and injuring at least two others. The villagers fled to Namti to seek shelter, or hid nearby until members of the Kachin Baptist Convention and Peace Creation Group arrived.

San Htoi, a KWAT spokesperson, called on the international community to put pressure on the Myanmar Army to stop ongoing offensives and human rights violations, highlighting the recent case in Kasung.

San Htoi called for an end to military-to-military ties, saying: “We want it to stop, because the Myanmar Army has continued violating human rights. As long as these military ties continues, they are supporting Myanmar Army abuses.”

A KWAT statement on Monday highlighted instances of abuse that included arbitrary arrest, torture, and blockage of humanitarian aid, adding that humanitarian groups from Hpakant have been unable to transport food to displaced persons in Namti since last Thursday.

The military’s blockages of aid have been ongoing. On Sunday, the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society said that their truck shipment of rice to IDPs in Sadone Township had been blocked.

The KWAT statement also said that of 11 Kasung villagers arrested by the Myanmar Army on August 11, there were two women and three children – two who were allegedly tortured.

The KWAT is a long-term advocate for human rights and the protection of women in conflict zones.

Aside from ending military ties, the group also called on the international community to pressure the Myanmar Army to withdraw troops from ethnic areas and for a visa ban on military leaders.

“These latest attacks against civilians are part of a systematic military operation, authorized at the highest level,” said another KWAT spokesperson, Shirley Seng.

“Increasing military-to-military cooperation is emboldening the Myanmar Army to commit war crimes. Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing should be ostracized internationally as a war criminal, not treated like a VIP,” she said.