In solidarity with our grantee partner the Burmese Women’s Union, Global Fund for Women is disseminating the below statement shared by them regarding the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar. We recognize their bravery and exemplary work in continuing to fight for women’s rights and the rights of all human beings in an extremely challenging ongoing military crisis.
Concerns and Requests Related to
the Humanitarian Situation in Kachin and Northern Shan States, Myanmar
The armed conflict between the Government of Myanmar and the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) has displaced over 120,000 civilians to 167 camps across Kachin and Northern Shan States. As of August 2016, multiple peace process negotiations have yet to bring any concrete results for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to return home safely. From the onset of the humanitarian crisis, nine local humanitarian organizations formed a Joint Strategy Team (1) for Humanitarian Response in Kachin and Northern Shan States.
Regardless of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement and the 21st Century Panglong Peace Conference, the Myanmar Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) continues its military offensives and violations of human rights. Continuous fighting and use of airstrikes and heavy artillery have increased civilian casualties and intensified fear and anxiety for IDPs. Recently, fighting has been taking place across Kachin State and northern Shan State. In 01 October 2016, due to Tatmadaw’s heavy artillery fired, a 21-month-old child was killed, and two more children were badly injured in Pu Wan village, Mongku township in Northern Shan state. With this development, IDP families and civilians are extremely anxious and terrified.
Myanmar government and Tatmadaw have stopped food transportation to KIO-controlled areas as well as in Northern Shan state in their own control area. The government has issued a letter that agencies need to get prior permission from the state government for any food distribution in IDP camps. Currently, there is a severe food shortage in Man Win Gyi IDPs camps, Northern Shan State and KIO control area. Humanitarian access is unfortunately politicized consistently by the Myanmar government, and has been controlled and limited. Myanmar Tatmadaw consistently hinders food transportation to the areas in Kachin state that are most in need. This is an outright violation of the rights of the IDPs and breach of international humanitarian law.
In September 2016, Myanmar Armed Forces with fully armed soldiers entered IDP camps and carried out family registration checks (including taking the families’ photos) in Northern Shan and Kachin States. With these incidents, which are a violation of IDPs rights, IDP families are constantly intimidated, and they are extremely anxious and terrified with these intrusions.
After five years of displacement, ensuring human dignity for IDPs and meeting their basic needs like food and shelter is a constant struggle; protection of the most vulnerable groups remains a great challenge. Under such circumstances, which threatens IDPs’ lives and security and hampers the peace process, the Joint Strategy Team would like to deliver the following urgent requests to all stakeholders:
1. We call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and ask that all parties implement a complete and immediate cessation of any military action and hostilities, fully respect civilian protection and abide by international humanitarian law and Human Rights Law.
2. JST urge Myanmar government and Tatmadaw to take full responsibility and accountability for its own people, the IDPs, and to strictly observe international humanitarian law and to ensure unlimited humanitarian access as they have signed on under international humanitarian law.
3. That UN agencies and international communities mobilize all their resources (diplomatic, financial, and logistical) to ensure that food and other essential humanitarian assistance is delivered with no delay to those in need, directly and through reputed local humanitarian organizations.
Contact: Gum Sha Awng (Mr.) at gum.sha.awng@metta-‐myanmar.org Mobile: +95 95192913
(1) Joint Strategy Team – Bridging Rural Integrated Development and Grassroot Empowerment (BRIDGE), Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC), Kachin Relief and Development Committee (KRDC), Kachin Women Association (KWA), Kachin Development Group (KDG), Karuna Mission Social Solidarity (KMSS), Metta Development Foundation (Metta), Nyein (Shalom) Foundation and Wunpawng Ninghtoi (WPN).
JST is a group of committed, professional Humanitarian local NGOs providing comprehensive, strategic, principled humanitarian assistance to people affected by armed conflict in Kachin and Northern Shan States. JST has a long trajectory in strategizing and delivering principled humanitarian assistance in complex contexts and it is highly knowledgeable and exposed to the International Humanitarian System.