Thu 26 Jun 2014
Filed under: Ethnic Issues,Inside Burma,News,Refugees
Refugees sheltering in displacement camps in Kachin and northern Shan states have all but given up hope of going home any time soon.
Battles continue to rage in the region between Burmese government forces and ethnic armed groups.
DVB spoke to residents living in Man Wain Gyi camp near Mansi Towsnhip.
“I don’t think we’ll have the chance to go home. Burmese troops are still stationed in our village. So it’s unlikely we’ll be going home any time soon,” said one displaced woman.
“We heard more fighting last night,” said another young woman. She said she heard gunfire.
A young student said the refugees are constantly scared that fighting will spill over into the camp.
“I always feel afraid every time there is a clash,” she said.
This month marked the third anniversary of renewed conflict in Kachin State, after a 17-year ceasefire between the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) and the Burmese government broke down.
Since 2011, more than 100,000 civilians have been displaced by the fighting.
Peace talks between ethnic rebel groups and government peace negotiators have been ongoing, and in May the two sides agreed to establish a joint peace-keeping commission.
But many civilians are disillusioned with the talks as whatever progress is made at the negotiation table ultimately fails to end the fighting.
“I wish they would speed up the peace talks so we can live in peace. We all just want to live in peace,” said a displaced man living in Man Wain Gyi camp.
Man Wain Gyi is a government-controlled town in Mansi Township, which lies between China and northern Shan State. After fighting between the KIA and government troops erupted near the town in April, over 3,000 people were forced to flee their homes. Many came to the camps around Man Waing Gyi, while others fled to China.
Despite calls from President Thein Sein for a nationwide ceasefire, armed clashes continue to break out in the northern border regions and thousands of IDPs continue to worry that they’ll never be able to go home.