Kachin protest in Canberra, Australia against Burmese Army’s ongoing offensive

Kachin together with Karen and Chin ethnics of Burma gathered in Canberra on January 7th, 2013 to protest against Burmese Army’s ongoing attack on Kachin ethnic. Demonstrations were held in front of Parliament, Burmese Embassy and Chinese Embassy. Around 130 ethnic people of Burma participated and expressed their condemnation and asked international community to help resolve the crisis.

It has been 19 months since the current armed conflict in Northern Burma started. To date, the conflict between the Burmese forces and Kachin Independence Army has resulted to over 100,000 internally displaced persons.

Many reports have shown severe human rights violations by the Burmese Army. The government has also blocked much needed aid to the majority of IDPs even when these citizens of Burma are suffering under horrific conditions. Kachin in Burma are suffering and dying under attack of Burmese troops.

Thein Sein Administration and Burma Parliament have minimized the seriousness of the crisis. They have yet to take any action for meaningful political dialogue. The Burmese Army’s offensive against the KIA has intensified since December 15th, 2012. The ongoing aerial assaults, the use of combat helicopters, fighter jets, and shelling on unarmed innocent civilians by the government’s forces have killed civilians and continue to put the lives of thousands of Burmese citizens in great danger. These IDPs have already been forced to leave their homes and livelihood to avoid abuse from the Burmese forces and now their lives are being threatened.

Kachin and other ethnic groups of Burma strongly condemn Burmese government and the offensive against Kachin. The use of forces and aerial attacks will not bring genuine peace, but only miseries and deaths of innocent civilians.

Statement by the Kachin Association of Australia

7th January 2013

On June 9th 2011 the Burmese Army broke the seventeen-year-old ceasefire agreement when they attacked a Kachin Independence Army (KIA) outpost to consolidate a Chinese hydropower project. Since then, the Burmese government has sent over 100 battalions including air force and ground troops to Kachin State to destroy the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) and deliberately attacking tens of thousands of Kachin civilians to occupy their land. It is important to note that this 19 month long conflict is a one-sided massive military offensive initiated by the Burmese army and the Kachin are simply defending their lives and rights.

Today, there are over 100,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Kachin State as a result of the Burmese government’s continued military onslaught. Over 100 Kachin girls, women and even disabled have been raped, countless innocent civilians have lost their lives and many more were subjected to grave human rights abuses at the hands of the imperialist Burmese Army to date. Since the conflict unfolded, the majority of the IDPs are being sheltered and provided with life-saving assistance from the KIO while the Burmese government intentionally blocks UN and other international humanitarian aid until today.

The recent aerial bombardment by the Burmese Air Force using helicopter gunships, jet fighter planes, sanctioned EU made weapons and poisonous chemical gas shells is in direct violation of the Geneva Convention and international law. Excessive use of military power in civil conflict as if attacking foreign invader is incomprehensible and unjust. These senseless attacks are putting the lives of thousands of Kachin civilians and IDPs in constant danger.

In solidarity with the KIO and over 100,000 Kachin IDPs, we the Kachin Association of Australia demand the Burmese government;

1) To immediately and unconditionally stop the Burmese Army’s aerial and ground assaults on Kachin civilians and KIO/KIA
2) To allow international humanitarian aid organisations unrestricted access to all war affected areas
3) To cease the deceitful ceasefire process for international relations and initiate genuine political dialogue to solve the decades long political deception by successive Burmese governments.

We urge the international community;
1) To take immediate action to stop the genocidal warfare tactics of the Burmese government and Burmese troops.
2) To hold the perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity accountable under international law and stop rewarding the imperialist Burmese government with international support fuelling the killing of more innocent civilians.
3) To provide humanitarian aid and demand access to all of the IDPs affected by the Burmese military offensive.

Kachin protest in Canberra 2013

protesting in front of the Parliament of Australia

Kachin protest in Canberra 2013

protesting against Burmese troops offensive

Kachin protest in Canberra 2013

in front of Chinese Embassy, protesting against human rights violations