News / Asia

UN Warns Burma on Airstrikes in Kachin

Clad in traditional attire, activists march during a rally to end the fighting in northern Burma, in downtown Rangoon, Tuesday, January 1, 2013.Clad in traditional attire, activists march during a rally to end the fighting in northern Burma, in downtown Rangoon, Tuesday, January 1, 2013.
x
Clad in traditional attire, activists march during a rally to end the fighting in northern Burma, in downtown Rangoon, Tuesday, January 1, 2013.
Clad in traditional attire, activists march during a rally to end the fighting in northern Burma, in downtown Rangoon, Tuesday, January 1, 2013.
VOA News
The United States and the United Nations are urging the Burmese government to stop its campaign of air strikes against rebels in northern Kachin state, where an escalation in violence is threatening the country's reform process.

State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland says Washington is "extremely troubled" by the government's use of air power, and is calling for talks that would lead to an end to the fighting.

"We are continuing to urge the Government of Burma and the Kachin Independence Organization to cease this conflict, to get to a real dialogue to address grievances as the Government of Burma has been able to do in virtually all of the other conflict areas," Nuland said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday called on Burma to refrain from any action that could endanger the lives of civilians or promote further conflict in Kachin state.

A U.N. statement said ongoing hostilities between government forces and rebel fighters from the Kachin Independence Organization have already caused a "large displacement of civilians who continue to be in need of humanitarian assistance."

In an interview earlier Wednesday with VOA's Burmese service, a government spokesperson acknowledged that "training jets" were used in attacks on rebel positions in fighting that began last week.  Other officials had at first denied carrying out the strikes.

Myra Dahgaypaw, head of the human rights group U.S. Campaign for Burma, says that President Thein Sein's calls for an end to the fighting are no longer enough. She says the increased fighting brings up real questions about the president's control over the military.

"Burma is not like the U.S., where the commander-in-chief [of the military] and the president are the same person," she said. "Burma has a totally different commander-in-chief who is totally a military person...(and) they will try and protect their power no matter what."

Burma's government and the rebels blame each other for the escalation in violence, which has continued since 2011 after a 17-year-old cease-fire broke down. Tens of thousands have been displaced.

Ethnic groups in the northern part of the country have long accused the government of systematic repression, and have been fighting for greater autonomy in their traditional states.

The Kachin rebel organization is the only major ethnic rebel group that has not reached a cease-fire agreement with the government of President Thein Sein.  The president, elected in 2011, has enacted a series of reforms since coming to power.

Western analysts, however, have warned the renewed fighting in Kachin state and ongoing sectarian violence in western Rakhine state threaten to undermine political reform initiatives elsewhere in the country.

You May Like

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
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 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 Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
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 S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
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.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs