The Australian Karen Organization rallied outside the Burmese Embassy in Canberra to protest against the Burma Army’s recent attacks on villages in Karen State.
Members of the Australian Karen community travelled from Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne to protest. The Australian Karen organization said in a media statement that the Canberra demonstration was part of a Global Karen Protest against attacks “innocent civilians of the Karen State which has recently escalated following the unwarranted invasion by the Burmese Army.”
The AKO statement said that as the Burma Army continues to carry out human rights violations against civilians, “the United Nations has estimated that a further 6,800 persons have become internally displaced since April this year.”
The AKO accused the Burma military of failing to honour ceasefire agreements with ethnic armed organizations in the country.
“Despite the efforts of the International Community to endorse genuine peace, the Burmese Military have increased their attacks on various ethnic groups, including the Kachin, Rakhine and Shan States, failing to uphold the ceasefire principles in the Karen State in particular.”
The AKO statement used quotes from a recently released report from the Kachin Worldwide Statement that “asserted that the International Community is too weak to enforce international law and hold the Burmese Army accountable for their crimes.”
The Australian Karen Organization pointed out that the violations – killings, acts of torture, arbitrary arrests, forced labour, and injury by shelling – against ethnic villagers has been well documented by regional and local human rights groups.
The AKO called on the United Nations Security Council to summons the Burma military to the International Criminal Court as “Burma, is in a state of humanitarian crisis.”
The AKO condemned the “Burmese Military’s callous breach of the Nation-wide Ceasefire Agreement, including the moving of troops into agreed ceasefire boundary.”
The Australian Karen Organization raised concerns that “as the armed conflict continues between the Burmese Army and the independent ethic groups” humanitarian groups are been denied access to displaced people. “Humanitarian aid organizations are experiencing difficulty in accessing the conflict zones, and thus the internally displaced people, further denying them their basic rights to food, shelter, and healthcare.”
The AKO said “civilians and displaced persons of the ethnic States of Burma have the right to return to their homes in safety and with dignity. This however cannot occur until genuine peace throughout Burma is achieved, and the malicious military offensives within ethnic territories, such as Mutraw District (Karen State) as recent as March this year, have ceased.”
The Australian Karen Organization urged the “United Nations to advance with their Appointment of the Special Envoy to Burma, and the immediate dispatch of the Envoy to ethnic areas to negotiate free movement and humanitarian access.”
The Australian Karen Organization called on “China, India, United States, and ASEAN to serve as mediator in seeking sustainable resolution(s) to the conflict within the Karen State which reinforces the protection and security of its civilians.”
The AKO requested the United Nations and International Governments to advocate the bringing of genuine peace and national reconciliation, through political interventions on the current peace-building between the Burmese Government and the ethnic people of Burma.”
The AKO demanded the NLD led Aung San Suu Kyi government order “the Burmese Military to immediately end all brutal attacks on the ethnic States which have resulted in the impediment of the provision of humanitarian assistance for over 100,000 internally displaced people.”