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(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
  76. National Education and Research Development – NERD
  77. Naushawng Education Network
  78. NetworkforDemocracyandDevelopment
  79. NetworkforDemocracyandDevelopment
  80. New Steps Women Organisation – Tedim
  81. Olive
  82. Open Development Foundation (Kanpetlet)
  83. Our Lovely World
  84. Pace on Peaceful Pluralism
  85. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays -Myanmar (PFLAG-MYANMAR)
  86. Paungsi Arr Man Social Development Group – Maw Lamyaing
  87. Peace and Justice Legal Aid Center
  88. Poet Lovers Association
  89. Public Network (Bago Region)
  90. Pyo Khin Thit (Ma-u-bin)
  91. Pyoe Development Organisation
  92. Rainmaker (Women Empowerment Center)
  93. Resource Rights for the Indigenous Peoples
  94. Ruby Land Peace Network
  95. School of Intensive English Programs (IEP-Mai Ja Yang)
  96. Shan State Students Union
  97. Shan Youth Yangon
  98. Shanan Network
  99. Shingnip Legal Aid Network
  100. Shwe Chinthae Social Servicr Group (Shwebo)
  101. Sittaung Melody Social Network
  102. 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)

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