Authorities urged to provide humanitarian aid to Chin conflict victims

Written by Chinland Guardian
Published in Chin News

16 June 2015 — The Chin Human Rights Organization urged the government of Burma to take necessary action to provide humanitarian assistance to Chin victims of conflicts between the Burma Army and the Arakan Army.
In a statement released yesterday, the CHRO said that the authorities should cooperate with UN agencies and the international community to allow unhindered access to more than 350 Khumi Chin internally displaced persons in Paletwa Township, Chin State.

It said that they would be running out of food supplies before the end of this month. It added that the 350 IDPs – of whom 141 are children – urgently need food, medical care and medicine, additional latrines, and construction materials.

At the end of March, the Arakan Army attacked their village, Pyin So, where there is a Burma Army military outpost, forcing residents to flee, according to the CHRO.

Subsequently, the AA ordered the villagers to dig a grave and bury the body of Burma Army Captain Kyaw Htet Aung who was killed during the fighting.

And the AA forced another ten men to porter their loads for them to the border with Bangladesh.

Rachel Fleming, CHRO’s Advocacy Director, said “This is yet another case where ordinary civilians, this time Khumi Chin indigenous people, bear the brunt of armed conflict in Burma and suffer human rights violations. The long-standing pattern of abuses hasn’t stopped; in fact we see it escalating in the Paletwa area.”

In the lead-up to the outbreak of conflict, the CHRO also documented two cases of child soldier recruitment and one of forced recruitment by the Burma Army in the Paletwa area.

The CHRO called on the authorities of Burma to stop the pressure on IDPs to return to their village – reportedly contaminated with landmines – and respect their right to voluntary return in safety and dignity.

Fleming said: “The pressure from the authorities to return home violates the rights of the IDPs. Instead, the authorities should be consulting with them for long-term solutions, in accordance with the right to free, prior and informed consent.”

“Voluntary return in safety and dignity is a right, not an obligation. And in this case it would require humanitarian landmine clearance and security guarantees from the authorities.”

At least four clashes had taken place between the Burma Army and the Arakan Army since March this year.

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