Press release by the Kachin Women’s Association Thailand
Growing numbers of displaced Kachin suffer from Burmese regime’s blockage of aid
August 16, 2011
The refusal of Burma’s military regime to allow international aid to the growing numbers of war-affected Kachin is causing critical hardship for these displaced communities. Ongoing atrocities by the Burma Army troops, despite continuing ceasefire negotiations with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), are driving increased numbers of villagers to flee to towns or border areas. Numbers of displaced along the mountainous China-Burma border have risen from 16,000 in July to nearly 20,000, sheltering in 15 makeshift camps. Over 3,000 are seeking refuge in the Kachin capital Myitkyina and the nearby town of Waimaw. On August 9, a 39-year-old woman and her 17-year-old daughter were gang-raped and killed by troops from Burma Army Light Infantry Battalion 37 near Waimaw. On July 31, a 15-year-old boy was shot and killed when he fled from a Burmese patrol near Kamaing, west of Myitkyina. The regime stated in its August 12 press conference that authorities had opened “centres” in Kachin towns for the displaced, who were being assisted by various local organizations. In fact, these displaced are mainly sheltering in churches, where local communities are struggling to provide support, and international and local NGOs have been expressly forbidden to assist them. Tens of thousands of sacks of rice stockpiled in the World Food Program’s Myitkyina storehouse have been untouched since the fighting began on June 9, when the Burma Army broke its 17-year-long ceasefire with the KIA. Those displaced in camps along the China-Burma border are surviving on donations of rice and occasional other food supplies from local communities. Lack of proper food is starting to cause malnutrition among the children. “We urge international donors to push for access to the war-affected in Kachin State,” said Shirley Seng, spokesperson of the Kachin Women’s Association Thailand. “They must not stand by while the regime blocks aid to those who desperately need it.” A map of areas of fighting and displacement in Kachin State can be viewed on kachinwomen.com Contact persons: Shirley Seng + 66 86- 9238- 854 Moon Nay Li + 66 85- 6251- 912 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org /email@example.com Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT) is a non profit-making organisation working on behalf of Kachin women. We have a vision of a Kachin State where all forms of discrimination are eliminated; where all women are empowered to participate in decision making at a local, national and international level; and where all Kachin children have the opportunity to fulfill their potential.