Thursday, 7 June 2012

Canadian MPs call for an independent international mechanism to investigate grave abuses in Kachin war 


Canadian MPs from all parties on the International Human Rights Sub-Committee held a news conference on Friday, June 1, 2012.

The subject of the news conference is the continuing widespread persecution of ethnic nationalities and religious minorities in Burma by the military regime, despite recent modest democratic reforms that have seen Aung Sang Suu Syi take a seat in Burma’s Parliament. Canada MPs said they want to draw the world’s attention to the atrocious and unacceptable human sufferings that is happening in Kachin State, Burma.

Members of the Commons sub-committee on International Human Rights who attended include Russ Hiebert, MP, David Sweet, MP, Wayne Marston, MP, and Irwin Cotler, MP.

Russ Hiebert, a conservative member of parliament, said that while they are pleased with the modest improvements that have been made by Burmese military dictatorship in allowing of democratic freedom in Burma including allowing some opposition leaders such as Aung San Suu Kyi to take seat in the Burmese parliament, things are not so good for the people of mountain states of Burma. He said, there are two millions people of Kachin State who were denied the rights to participate in recent by-election. Aung San Suu Kyi said in a speech she gave in Bangkok warning the world against “reckless optimism” over the reforms that are happening in Burma stating that they are not irreversible, said Russ.

Wayne Marston, MP for Hamilton East -Stoney Creek, said that concern governments should support an independent investigative mechanism to investigate abuses of all sides as they should in any conflict. He stressed that pressure should be sustained on the Burmese government to ensure that Burmese military is actually brought in to line following the direction of Burmese government.

Irwin Cotler, MP for Mount Royal, urged international communities the need to sound alarm for “untold horrors” that is happening in Kachin State. Cotler said though Kachin atrocities are parallel to what is happening in Syria, there is little mentioned of it in international media. He continued to call for international communities to act, considering grave human rights deteriorations. Cotler said Burmese government has to ensure that those who are engaged in massive violations of international humanitarian laws have to be held accountable and brought to justice.

Dr. James Humphries, director of discipleship international, asked for international media to start recording and publishing what is actually taking place outside of the Burma’s capital city. He said, “Citizens of the World, Do you have to wait or gain until there are numerous mass graves before we will take some types of actions?”

In a letter signed by chairman Lanyaw Zawng Hra, KIO requested the UN Secretary General to send observer teams or intermediary teams to the conflict war zones, and to the towns and villages destroyed by the Burmese Army, and to the IDP camps in KIO areas. Fighting has intensified as there is a surge of Burmese troop deployment in areas close to Kachin administrative capital Laiza.

Since the war broke out in June 2011, the number of refugees who fled from their homes has been rapidly increasing, there are now over 75,000 refugees in different parts of the Kachin State, the Shan State, and along the Sino-Burmese border. About 50,000 refugees are currently living in KIO’s administrative areas. Since the beginning, the refugees under the KIO’s administrative area have been assisted by the KIO, the Kachins from abroad, inside Burma and China, and some well-wishers. UN’s aid trucks have reached to KIO’s areas for a few times this year but UN’s continued access to the KIO’s areas to deliver aids have been delayed by the Burmese government citing “security concerns”.

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