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

    Greenpeace Leak: US-EU Trade Deal Would Favor Corporations

    Activist group leaks classified documents to 'shine a light' on talks that could create the world's largest bilateral trade and investment pact

    Video Ethiopia's Drought Takes Toll on Children

    East African country’s crops failed in 2015, creating food shortages for 10 million – including 6 million children whose development may be compromised

    What Your First Name Reveals About Who You Vote For

    People named Chad are more likely to be Republicans and Jonathans are usually Democrats

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora