After visiting families in a Lashio internally displaced people (IDP) camp last week Sai Wan Leng Kham, a Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) Upper House member called on Burma’s military to stop reinforcing troops in ethnic regions.

The families had been displaced by the conflict in Shan State and Sai Wan Leng Kham said to SHAN that the ongoing war is an obstacle to development and that children have become malnourished and are unable attend school because of the conflict.

He said: “In ethnic areas, the education system is very poor. It is even worse because the government’s military launched their offensive in these areas and as a result children can’t access education. Again, this is the time for villagers to grow their crops but they have to face this. I want the government’s military to stop their offensive.”

Sai Wan Leng Kham went on to explain that because of the fighting, development plans for ethnic areas could not be completed.

He said: “While the country is developing, the people in ethnic areas are facing difficulties. Because of the fighting, they are left behind.”

He added: “There has been ongoing conflict for over 60 years. Every day people are fleeing their homes. If this situation keeps going on, I have no hope for our country to be developed.”

He believes now is the time to bring peace to the country and with a new government just having come into office this kind of conflict should not should be happening.

He said: “The Burma Army should call for a nationwide ceasefire and work on the peace process immediately.”

Edited by Mark Inkey for BNI