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 Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa 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.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid