UCA News

Myanmar

Myanmar aid groups call for help for displaced civilians

Military blocks passage of assistance into rebel-held territories

Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Myanmar aid groups call for help for displaced civilians

A Kachin mother tends to her son, who lives with polio, in a camp for displaced persons in Myitkyina, Myanmar, in December 2014. (Photo by John Zaw)

Share this article :
Aid groups in Myanmar have strongly condemned the blocking of relief supplies to more than 1,000 newly displaced Kachin civilians by the military as a violation of international humanitarian law.

“We demand unconditional and free humanitarian access to those displaced by the current fighting and urgently request the withdrawal of troops from the villages and the creation of safe corridors for villagers to safely return home,” a coalition of nine local aid groups said in a July 24 statement.

La Ma Yaw, a spokesman for the Kachin Baptist Convention, said that the situation remains tense in northern Kachin state as the military has increased troops in the region.

“We held a meeting with the UN and other aid groups in Myitkyina on July 24 to discuss how to carry out aid for the displaced, but the roads remain blocked by the military. We were forced to suspend our humanitarian response, but we are still observing the situation,” La Ma Yaw told ucanews.com July 27.

Renewed fighting between the military and the Kachin Independence Army in Suprabum township in northern Kachin state forced more than 1,000 civilians from nearby villages to flee to the jungle in rebel-controlled territory.

The most recent data shows 1,402 newly displaced Kachin civilians as of July 24, according to La Ma Yaw.

“War goes on in parts of the country. Families are broken in Kachin state with more than 100,000 displaced people,” Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon said in a July 21 statement.

Meanwhile, more than 100 civil society groups appealed to President Thein Sein, and military Commander-in Chief Min Aung Hlaing to stop military activity and troop movement in Kachin, Shan and Karen states.

“We condemn the military offensive and [demand] the withdrawal of troops from the villages in ethnic areas,” read the July 23 letter.

The groups also called for a national ceasefire “for the sake of the people and peace.”

The latest round of peace talks is set to resume in early August.

The Kachin conflict intensified in 2011, after a 17-year ceasefire between the rebels and government broke down, driving nearly 100,000 civilians from their homes. 

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
YOUR DAILY
NEWSLETTER
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
 
Support UCA News

William J. Grimm, MM

Publisher

Union of Catholic Asian News

"As Pope Francis has said, we live not so much in an era of change as in a change of era. That is especially true in Asia and for the churches of Asia. UCA News is the dedicated, Asia-wide news and information service for the Church in Asia and we need your help to maintain the service."