June 9, 2016

Joint Statement: Five Years of War- A Call for Peace, Justice and Accountability in Myanmar

Today marks the grim five-year anniversary of the resumption of armed conflict in Myanmar’s Kachin State. This conflict, between the Myanmar military and the Kachin Independence Army, has displaced more than 100,000 civilians. Organizations at the local and international level have also documented severe human rights violations perpetrated by the Myanmar military, including extrajudicial killings, torture, rape and sexual violence and forced labor.

The International Human Rights Clinic today joins 129 other organizations in calling for peace, justice and accountability in Kachin State.

“Joint Statement: Five Years of War- A Call for Peace, Justice and Accountability in Kachin State”

(June 9, 2016)— Although much of the world has expressed excitement over Myanmar’s political transition, communities throughout Kachin and northern Shan states have been living with severe human rights abuses and displacement for the last five years.

Since 2011, renewed armed conflict between the Myanmar military and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has displaced more than 100,000 civilians. In the conduct of the war, the Myanmar military has perpetrated severe human rights violations. International and community-based organizations have documented extrajudicial killings, torture, forced labor, rape and sexual violence, arbitrary detention, attacks on civilians and non-military targets, and pillaging of property. These abuses have been perpetrated with near-complete impunity. Some of the abuses may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity under international law.

Kachin women and children displaced by ongoing war and abuses in northern Myanmar Photo: © Ryan Roco 2013

Kachin women and children displaced by ongoing war and abuses in northern Myanmar. Photo credit: © Ryan Roco 2013

Forced into dozens of displacement camps, entire communities have lost their homes, livelihoods, and belongings. Displaced populations continue to face avoidable deprivations in humanitarian aid. The Myanmar government and military have denied humanitarian organizations unfettered access to displaced populations, and funding for Kachin-led aid groups has been insufficient to meet the needs of displaced communities. Unnecessarily delaying travel authorizations to the displacement camps in government controlled areas and entirely restricting access to KIA- controlled areas for humanitarian actors has led to severe consequences for people in need of support.

Displaced families lack adequate food, healthcare, education, water and sanitation, and shelter. Some displaced families now eat one meal per day due to irregular delivery of food rations. Preventable illnesses have resulted in needless death. The dearth of funding for schools and teachers is depriving children of adequate education, stunting the development of an entire generation. As the rainy season approaches once again, war-affected displaced populations are still struggling to live in unsafe conditions in which they have no protection against wind and rain. Today, there is no meaningful prospect for displaced communities to return home safely or rebuild their lives with dignity.

June 9, 2016 marks the five-year anniversary of the resumption of armed conflict in Kachin State—a date that ended a 17-year-long ceasefire. The Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) negotiated under former President Thein Sein failed to end the war, and the prospects for an inclusive peace agreement remain distant.

Today, we the undersigned organizations call for peace, justice, and accountability in Kachin State.

First and foremost, we request that the Myanmar military immediately end all offensives in Kachin and northern Shan states, and we urge President Htin Kyaw and State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi to immediately authorize universal and unfettered access for humanitarian groups to all affected areas. The military and authorities should provide safe, sustained, and unhindered access to all areas of affected populations to allow humanitarian organizations to give necessary help and support.

Ongoing and unchecked human rights violations only hinder efforts to achieve a lasting peace in Kachin and northern Shan states. The government and military should end the endemic culture of impunity once and for all. Perpetrators of human rights violations should be held accountable for their crimes in independent and impartial courts of law, regardless of rank or position. Likewise, survivors of human rights violations should receive prompt and adequate compensation for harms suffered.

To ensure the future promotion and protection of human rights, the government should ratify without delay key human rights treaties, including the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment as well as the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

The government should ensure an inclusive peace process that involves all actors and prioritizes human rights. Furthermore, it is vital for the achievement of a sustainable peace that women play an active role in this peace process.
Today, we express our solidarity with the suffering and struggle of communities and families throughout the war- affected areas and we do so in the spirit of peace, justice, and accountability, which we believe go hand in hand. We call upon the government and military to end the war in Kachin State.

Signatories

1. Ayar West Development Organization- AWDO
2. Ayarwady Youth Network – AYN
3. Bago Youth Network
4. Border Health Initiative (BHI)
5. Brave Heart Social Development Organisation
7. Burma Partnership
8. Candle Light
9. Center for Youth and Social Harmony
10. Cherry Image (Shan State)
11. Chin Hill Beauty Group – Tedim
12. Chin League for Democracy
13. Chin Youth Organisation
14. Chin Youth Organisation (Mindat)
15. Civil Authorize Negotiate Organization (C.A.N-Org)
16. Co-Exist
17. Community Work for Kachin(CWK)
18. Conservation on Hill-Ecosystem Association (CHEA)
19. Dawei Development Association
20. Dawei Probono Lawyers Network
21. Dawei Youth Fellowship
22. Diverze Youth Art Platform
23. EcoDev
24. Fortify Rights
25. Forum for Democracy in Burma
26. Freethinkers
27. Green Pyin Oo Lwin
28. Green Right Organization (Aung Ban Shan State)
29. Green Rights Organization (Shan State)
30. Hiatuii Tribal Community (HTC)
31. Htanthawng, Paletwa township
32. Htoi Gender and Development Foundation
33. Huphokapaw Social Support Group (Kyar In Seik Gyi)
34. Independent Asho Chin League
35. Independent Youth For Change(IYFC)
36. I-School Myanmar
37. Kachin Alliance
38. Kachin Canadian Association
39. Kachin Development Networking Group- Kdng Kachin
40. Kachin Educators’ Synergy Group (KES)
41. Kachin National Organization (Denmark)
42. Kachin National Youth Network
43. Kachin Peace Network
44. Kachin Refugee Comittee (KRC) Malaysia
45. Kachin State Democracy Party (KSDP – Kachin)
46. Kachin State Women Network
47. Kachin University Literature and Culture Association (Myitkyina)
48. Kachin Women Peace Group. CSNeP
49. Kachin Women Peace Network
50. Kanpetlet Chin Civil Society Network
51. Karen Affair Committee
52. Karuna Funeral Servie – Mindat
53. Kayah State Peace Monitoring Network (KSPMN)
54. Khumi Youth Group – Paletwa
55. Kung Gyan Gon Network
56. London Kachin Baptist Church (LKBC)
57. Mali Ingra Volunteer Group
58. Mara Thyutlai (MPT)
59. Matupi Youth Association
60. Mon Cetanar Development Foundation (MCDF)
61. Mon- region Social Development Network
62. Mon State Community Ceasefire Monitoring Committee
63. Mon State Community Observers Association
64. Mon State CSOs’ Network
65. Mon State Disaster Prevention and Humanitarian Group
66. Mon State Environment and Natural Resource Lovers Group
67. Mon Women Network (MWN)
68. Mon Women’s Organisation (MWO)
69. Mon Youth Educator Organisation (MYEO)
70. Mon Youth Progressive Organisation (MYPO)
71. Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability Network (Mon state)
72. Myanmar Social Development Group
73. Myet- Won- Thit (Knowledge Zone)
74. Myitkyina News Journal
75. MYSELF
76. National Education & Research Development – NERD
77. Naushawng Education Network
78. Network for Democracy and Development
79. New Steps Women Organisation – Tedim
80. Olive
81. Open Development Foundation (Kanpetlet)
82. Our Lovely World (Shan State)
83. Pace on Peaceful Pluralism
84. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays -Myanmar (PFLAG-MYANMAR)
85. Paungsi Arr Man Social Development Group – Maw Lamyaing
86. Peace and Justice Legal Aid Center
87. Poet Lovers Association [ကဗ်ာခ်စ္သူမ်ားအသင္း(PLA)]
88. Public Network (Bago Region)
89. Pyo Khin Thit (Ma-u-bin)
90. Pyoe Development Organisation
91. Rainmaker (Women Empowerment Center)
92. Resource Rights for the Indigenous Peoples
93. Ruby Land Peace Network
94. School of Intensive English Programs (IEP-Mai Ja Yang)
95. Shan State Students Union
96. Shan Youth Yangon
97. Shanan Network
98. Shingnip Legal Aid Network
99. Shwe Chinthae Social Servicr Group (Shwebo)
100. Sittaung Melody Social Network
101. Southern Shan State Women Network
102. Southern Shan State Youth Network
103. Southern Youth
104. Summer Shelter (Shan State)
105.Takapaw
106. Tanintharyi Friend
107. Thang Tlang Civil Society Network (TCSN)
108. The HELP
109. The Kachin Relief Fund
110. The PLAN: Public Legal Aid Network
111. The Seagull: Human Rights, Peace & Development
112. Thuriya Sandra Environmental Watch Group
113. Upper Chindwin Youth Network
114. Wan-Lark Foundation (Arakan)
115. Wimutti Volunteer Group (WVG)
116. Women Empowerment Programme (WEP)
117. Wunpawng Ninghtoi
118. Yangon Kachin Baptist Youth
119. Yone Kyi Yar Knowledge Propagation Society
120. Young Kachin Writers’ Club
121. YWCA (Taunggyi)
122. တုတ္ development team
123. Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic
124. Physicians for Human Rights
125. Burma Campaign UK
126. COMREG – Community Response Group
127. Democracy for Ethnic Minorities organization (Shan State) 128. Khun Tan New Youth Network – (Thathon)
129. Paoh Youth Organization – PYO (Shan State)
130. Paungku

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