News / Asia

Burma Accused of Violating International Law in Kachin

A boy holds a bowl of rice in a refugee camp in Laiza, the area controlled by the Kachin in northern Burma, February 12, 2012.
A boy holds a bowl of rice in a refugee camp in Laiza, the area controlled by the Kachin in northern Burma, February 12, 2012.
VOA News
Human Rights Watch issued a statement Friday demanding that Burma’s army cease attacks against rebels in northern Kachin state. The group is also calling on military forces to allow humanitarian aid to reach at-risk populations.
 
As fighting between Kachin rebels and Burmese forces has crept closer to the rebel headquarters in Laiza, international rights groups say the military’s artillery and airstrikes are indiscriminate and violate international humanitarian law.
 
Three civilians have been reported killed in recent air and artillery strikes, which government officials initially denied. Presidential spokesperson Ye Htut later confirmed the military operations after video footage of the attacks emerged.
 
Human Rights Watch has condemned the military operation and called on the president to take action. Phil Robertson is the deputy director of the Asia Division.
 
"They need to take appropriate caution to make sure that they respect the laws of war and end unlawful attacks against civilians," he said. "Particularly, we're calling on President Thein Sein to say that he should order his commanders to ensure that the laws of war are followed and to ensure that the kinds of attacks that killed the three civilians are not repeated."
 
Robertson says he is particularly concerned that as the fighting has escalated and drawn nearer to large populations of displaced people, more civilians could be caught in the fighting. He pointed to a statement made by the deputy information minister, who said they could not allow humanitarian assistance in behind enemy lines because it could possibly help Kachin fighters.
 
Although more peace talks are scheduled to take place this month, aid workers in the region say the Burma army has continued near daily strikes using helicopter gunships and artillery, mostly concentrated around the large population centers near the Chinese border.
 
David Eubank, founder of the humanitarian organization Free Burma Rangers, said the way the Burma army is behaving violates the terms of the cease-fire, and could jeopardize peace talks.
 
"The Burma [army] wants to not only hold on to what they've got, they want to expand their control if the cease-fire falls apart because of their ability to move supplies and strengthen their positions during the cease-fire, they'll be in an even stronger position, or if the cease-fire keeps on, they'll be able to negotiate terms more favorable to the control of the Burma army," said Eubank. "So I think the reason is not for peace or for anything good, it's to strengthen the position of the Burma army.
 
As violence has escalated, local Chinese governments across the border have begun to prepare for a possible refugee crisis. 

Hong Lei, spokesman for the China Foreign Ministry, said authorities are very concerned about the situation on the ground. China is asking the Burmese side to exercise restraint and solve the dispute through dialogue, he said, adding that competent authorities on the Chinese side have taken effective measures to manage the border regions to ensure safety of the border inhabitants.
 
There is extensive Chinese investment in Kachin state that includes large infrastructure projects such as the suspended Myitsone dam, and border trade comprises a significant portion of the Yunnan economy.

You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ravindersinghghotra from: vadodara india
January 20, 2013 9:54 PM
violation of ceasefire is breach of human rights, collateral development will gain huge loss, stop war like practice and donot kill and get killed.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs