Joint Statement

Five Years of War: A Call for Peace, Justice, and Accountability in Myanmar

(June 9, 2016)—Although much of the world has expressed excitement over Myanmar’s political transition, communities throughout Kachin and northern Shan states have been living with severe human rights abuses and displacement for the last five years.

Since 2011, renewed armed conflict between the Myanmar military and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has displaced more than 100,000 civilians. In the conduct of the war, the Myanmar military has perpetrated severe human rights violations. International and community-based organizations have documented extrajudicial killings, torture, forced labor, rape and sexual violence, arbitrary detention, attacks on civilians and non-military targets, and pillaging of property. These abuses have been perpetrated with near-complete impunity. Some of the abuses may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity under international law.

Forced into dozens of displacement camps, entire communities have lost their homes, livelihoods, and belongings. Displaced populations continue to face avoidable deprivations in humanitarian aid. The Myanmar government and military have denied humanitarian organizations unfettered access to displaced populations, and funding for Kachin-led aid groups has been insufficient to meet the needs of displaced communities. Unnecessarily delaying travel authorizations to the displacement camps in government controlled areas and entirely restricting access to KIA- controlled areas for humanitarian actors has led to severe consequences for people in need of support.

Displaced families lack adequate food, healthcare, education, water and sanitation, and shelter. Some displaced families now eat one meal per day due to irregular delivery of food rations. Preventable illnesses have resulted in needless death. The dearth of funding for schools and teachers is depriving children of adequate education, stunting the development of an entire generation. As the rainy season approaches once again, war-affected displaced populations are still struggling to live in unsafe conditions in which they have no protection against wind and rain. Today, there is no meaningful prospect for displaced communities to return home safely or rebuild their lives with dignity.

June 9, 2016 marks the five-year anniversary of the resumption of armed conflict in Kachin State—a date that ended a 17-year-long ceasefire. The Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) negotiated under former President Thein Sein failed to end the war, and the prospects for an inclusive peace agreement remain distant.

Today, we the undersigned organizations call for peace, justice, and accountability in Kachin State.

First and foremost, we request that the Myanmar military immediately end all offensives in Kachin and northern Shan states, and we urge President Htin Kyaw and State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi to immediately authorize universal and unfettered access for humanitarian groups to all affected areas. The military and authorities should provide safe, sustained, and unhindered access to all areas of affected populations to allow humanitarian organizations to give necessary help and support.

Ongoing and unchecked human rights violations only hinder efforts to achieve a lasting peace in Kachin and northern Shan states. The government and military should end the endemic culture of impunity once and for all. Perpetrators of human rights violations should be held accountable for their crimes in independent and impartial courts of law, regardless of rank or position. Likewise, survivors of human rights violations should receive prompt and adequate compensation for harms suffered.

To ensure the future promotion and protection of human rights, the government should ratify without delay key human rights treaties, including the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment as well as the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

The government should ensure an inclusive peace process that involves all actors and prioritizes human rights. Furthermore, it is vital for the achievement of a sustainable peace that women play an active role in this peace process.

Today, we express our solidarity with the suffering and struggle of communities and families throughout the war- affected areas and we do so in the spirit of peace, justice, and accountability, which we believe go hand in hand. We call upon the government and military to end the war in Kachin State.

Signed

1. Ayar West Development Organization- AWDO

2. Ayarwady Youth Network – AYN

3. Bago Youth Network

4. Border Health Initiative (BHI)

5. Brave Heart Social Development Organisation

6. BRIDGE

7. Burma Partnership

8. Candle Light

9. Center for Youth and Social Harmony

10. Cherry Image (Shan State)

11. Chin Hill Beauty Group – Tedim

12. Chin League for Democracy

13. Chin Youth Organisation

14. Chin Youth Organisation (Mindat)

15. Civil Authorize Negotiate Organization (C.A.N-Org)

16. Co-Exist

17. Community Work for Kachin (CWK)

18. Conservation on Hill-Ecosystem Association

19. Dawei Development Association

20. Dawei Probono Lawyers Network

21. Dawei Youth Fellowship

22. Diverze Youth Art Platform

23. EcoDev

24. Fortify Rights

25. Forum for Democracy in Burma

26. Freethinkers

27. Green Pyin Oo Lwin

28. Green Right Organization (Aung Ban Shan State)

29. Green Rights Organization (Shan State)

30. Hiatuii Tribal Community (HTC)

31. Htanthawng, Paletwa township

32. Htoi Gender and Development Foundation

33. Huphokapaw Social Support Group (Kyar In Seik Gyi)

34. Independent Asho Chin League

35. Independent Youth For Change(IYFC)

36. I-School Myanmar

37. Kachin Alliance

38. Kachin Canadian Association

39. Kachin Development Networking Group- Kdng Kachin

40. Kachin Educators' Synergy Group (KES)

41. Kachin National Organization (Denmark)

42. Kachin National Youth Network

43. Kachin Peace Network

44. Kachin Refugee Comittee (KRC) Malaysia

45. Kachin State Democracy Party (KSDP - Kachin)

46. Kachin State Women Network

47. Kachin University Literature and Culture Association (Myitkyina)

48. Kachin Women Peace Group CSNeP.

49. Kachin Women Peace Network

50. Kanpetlet Chin Civil Society Network

51. Karen Affair Committee

52. Karuna Funeral Servie – Mindat

53. Kayah State Peace MonitoringN etwork(KSPMN)

54. Khumi Youth Group – Paletwa

55. Kung Gyan Gon Network

56. London Kachin Baptist Church

57. Mali Ingra Volunteer Group

58. Mara Thyutlai (MPT)

59. Matupi Youth Association

60. Mon Cetanar Development Foundation (MCDF)

61. Mon- region Social Development Network

62. Mon State Community Ceasefire Monitoring Committee

63. Mon State Community Observers Association

64. Mon State CSOs’ Network

65. Mon State Disaster Prevention

66. Mon State Environment and Natural Resource Lovers Group

67. Mon Women Network (MWN)

68. NetworkforDemocracyandDevelopment

69. Mon Youth Educator Organisation (MYEO)

70. Mon Youth Progressive Organisation (MYPO)

71. Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability Network (Mon state)

72. Myanmar Social Development Group

73. Myet- Won- Thit (Knowledge Zone)

74. Myitkyina News Journal

75. MYSELF

75. National Education and Research Development - NERD

76. Naushawng Education Network

77. NetworkforDemocracyandDevelopment

78. NetworkforDemocracyandDevelopment

79. New Steps Women Organisation – Tedim

80. Olive

81. Open Development Foundation (Kanpetlet)

82. Our Lovely World

83. Pace on Peaceful Pluralism

84. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays -Myanmar (PFLAG-MYANMAR)

85. Paungsi Arr Man Social Development Group – Maw Lamyaing

86. Peace and Justice Legal Aid Center

87. Poet Lovers Association

88. Public Network (Bago Region)

89. Pyo Khin Thit (Ma-u-bin)

90. Pyoe Development Organisation

91. Rainmaker (Women Empowerment Center)

92. Resource Rights for the Indigenous Peoples

93. Ruby Land Peace Network

94. School of Intensive English Programs (IEP-Mai Ja Yang)

95. Shan State Students Union

96. Shan Youth Yangon

97. Shanan Network

98. Shingnip Legal Aid Network

99. Shwe Chinthae Social Servicr Group (Shwebo)

100. Sittaung Melody Social Network

101. Southern Shan State Women Network

103. Southern Youth

104. Summer Shelter (Shan State)

105. Takapaw

106. Tanintharyi Friend

107. Thang Tlang Civil Society Network (TCSN)

108. The HELP

109. The Kachin Relief Fund

110. The PLAN: Public Legal Aid Network

111. The Seagull: Human Rights, Peace and Development

112. Thuriya Sandra Environmental Watch Group

113. Upper Chindwin Youth Network

114. Wan-Lark Foundation (Arakan)

115. Wimutti Volunteer Group (WVG)

116. Women Enpowerment Programme (WEP)

117. Wunpawng Ninghtoi

118. Yangon Kachin Baptist Youth

119. Yone Kyi Yar Knowledge Propagation Society

120. Young Kachin Writers' Club

121. YWCA (Taunggyi)

122. Development Team

123. Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic

124. Physicians for Human Rights

125. Burma Campaign UK

126. COMREG – Community Response Group

127. Democracy for Ethnic Minorities organization (Shan State)

128. Khun Tan New Youth Network – (Thathon)

129. Paoh Youth Organization – PYO (Shan State)

130. Paungku

131. Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW)


ABOUT FORTIFY RIGHTS

Fortify Rights works to prevent and remedy human rights violations. We investigate and document abuses, provide customized technical support to human rights defenders, and press for solutions. We are an independent, non-profit, nongovernmental organization based in Southeast Asia and registered in Switzerland and the United States.