Tue 15 Apr 2014
Filed under: Inside Burma
Ethnic Shan and Kachin minorities in Myanmar are fleeing their homes as the military pushes ahead with an onslaught against rebel groups.
The rebel Kachin Independence Army has accused Myanmar’s military of thwarting the peace process. (Credit: AFP) Ethnic Shan and Kachin minorities in Myanmar are fleeing their homes as the military pushes ahead with an onslaught against rebel groups.
Rebels say they’re frustrated as negotiations continue with the government on a countrywide ceasefire.
Kachin Independence Army colonel James Lum Dau has told Radio Australia’s Asia Pacific program the Myanmar army is thwarting the peace process.
“We never go down to fight the Burmese army,” he said. “The Burmese army comes up to our villages and refugee camps and come and fight.”
In 2011, eight ethnic minorities formed the United Nationalities Federal Council in preparation for negotiations with the government.
But as talks continue, human rights groups say the Myanmar military has intensified its fighting in Shan and Kachin states in the past fortnight.
The recent fighting has seen villagers fleeing to China for asylum, but mostly to no avail.
Colonel Lum Dau says two months ago when the Chinese Red Cross provided 5,000 boxes of basic essentials to Kachin families, Myanmar complained to Beijing.
He says the Myanmar government’s approach is to “let them die so that the Kachin will automatically surrender”.
Colonel Lum Dau says all the talk about reform and development in Myanmar is merely to appease foreign powers.
“The day the Burmese military is sincere or honest and they keep their promise, that day Burma will get peace.”