The Kachin National Organization (KNO), a group representing Kachin political exiles sent an open letter on September 23 to UN Chief Ban Ki Moon calling on the UN and the international community to take “direct action” in response to the escalating conflict in Kachin and parts of north west Shan states where Burma’s armed forces is fighting with the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO).

The KNO also urged Ban to publicly call for an end to hostilities in Kachin areas of Burma. “We urge you to demand the cessation of all military offensives in Kachinland” the letter said.  The letter charged that Burma’s military is currently engaged in a brutal campaign against “innocent civilians while engaging in hollow talks with the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO)” that is “contradictory to peace”.

The letter warned that failure to address issues relating to the plight of Burma’s ethnic minorities “will only perpetuate long-standing conflicts, suffering, political and humanitarian crises faced by the people.”

Despite detailed reports issued by Human Rights Watch and the UN’s own special rapporteur for Human Rights in Burma Tomas Quintana alleging serious abuses carried out by Burma’s military against civilians in Kachin state, Ban Ki Moon has so far failed to address the Kachin conflict since fighting began in June 2011.

Formed in 1999, the KNO is one the largest and well organized Kachin organizations operating outside of Burma.