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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs