News / Asia

Burma Attacks in Kachin Prompt Global Criticism

Henry Ridgwell
Reports say at least three people were killed and several injured after Burmese government forces launched mortar attacks Monday - the first reported civilian deaths since fighting between the military and Kachin rebels intensified last month. Kachin activists say Britain must do more to help their people, given Britain's colonial history in the country.
 
Amateur footage captures the aftermath of the alleged government attacks Monday on the town of Laiza, next to the Chinese border, as trucks carry away several injured people.  Kachin activists say three civilians were killed after mortars were fired at the town. 
 
Another video purportedly shows Kachin rebels earlier this month firing into the air as government jet fighters target their positions.
 
The Kachin Independence Army has been fighting for independence for decades. They have long accused Burma’s government of human rights violations.
 
Zoya Phan from Burma Campaign UK is an ethnic Karen - a group that says it has also suffered rights abuses and attacks. “It is shocking to see this still going on in Burma, while the international community turns a blind eye and does not condemn the human rights violations," she said. 
 
Activists staged a demonstration outside the Burmese embassy in London last week to protest the latest attacks.  Among them was Kunong, from the Kachin Students’ Union in Britain. 
 
“What the Burmese President is trying to do is cheating the world, is lying to the world. He is just playing with the international community to get their support," he said. 
 
Burmese President Thein Sein has overseen a series of reforms, including the release from house arrest of pero-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
 
Both U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have visited Burma in the last twelve months.  And President Sein has been invited to visit London later this year. 
 
British Foreign Minister Alastair Burt said this week, though, that the situation in Kachin is increasingly serious and could present a threat to wider reforms.
 
Zoya Phan from Burma Campaign UK says Britain has a wider obligation to help the Kachin because of promises it failed to keep after World War II.
 
“The Kachin army were sided with the British army and were promised independence by the authorities there. But when independence came to Burma, it was only for major ethnic (group), which was the Burmen, but other ethnic minorities including the Kachin were denied their equal rights," she said. 
 
Burma has just marked the 65th anniversary of its independence from Britain with a military parade.
 
Vice-President Sai Mauk Kham made no reference to the current violence.
 
He told the assembled audience that "(h)istory has taught us that the entire nation of 60 million Burmese people wish to have peace, rule of law and development."
 
Kachin activists say that while the international community embraces the reforms, there is little sign of peace in their remote part of Burma.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Srebrenica Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Cat from: Bangkok
January 15, 2013 9:09 PM
"The KIO is not blameless. It has not reciprocated the President’s announcement of a unilateral ceasefire and has continued offensive actions against military and strategic targets. At peace talks on 30 October, the Myanmar military sent senior commanders to participate, but the Kachin sent only lower-level representatives, meaning that military discussions on separation of forces could not be held. It was interpreted as a snub by the military and left government negotiator U Aung Min undermined as he had worked up to convince the amry to send a very senior army commander to attend the talks in China only for him to be stood up." by Jim Della-Giacoma

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs