“Fighting is everywhere…” Government Forces Use Airpower to Batter Ethnic Armed Groups in Northern Burma…Thousands Displaced

Reports from an alliance of Kachin peace groups and a humanitarian organization have released reports documenting government army offensives against ethnic armed groups in northern Burma. The Kachin Peace Network called on the government’s military and the ethnic armed groups to respect international laws in a statement released yesterday.

“We firmly demand to all the warring parties to refrain of committing any crime against humanity, fully respect International Humanitarian Law (IHL), and human rights laws (HRL).

The Kachin Peace Network requested “all parties to the conflict (the Myanmar government armed forces and the Ethnic Armed Forces) should respect the rights of civilians, and as per the Geneva Conventions, observe the principles of distinction between civilians and combatants and take precaution in the case of attacks to avoid civilian victims.”

The Kachin Peace Network called for all sides to find peaceful means to end the conflict and warned that “a peaceful solution to the conflicts in Myanmar is a critical priority for the future of the country and its people. This should be based in open political dialogues that address the long standing issues which are at the origin of this conflict.”

The humanitarian frontline group, the Free Burma Rangers issued a briefing that documented the offensives taking place in northern Burma that explained that the armed groups have responded to the government’s use of 20 attacks by helicopter gunships and fighter jets by forming an alliance.

“The Kachin Independence Army (KIA), Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA)[Kokang], Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Arakan Army (AA) have formed a ‘Northern Alliance’ and launched a joint offensive against the Burma Army in Northern Shan State on the 20th of November, 2016.

The FBR said that the newly-formed alliance’s is a last resort by the ethnic armed organizations. “The Northern Alliance states it is no longer able to cope with the occupation and oppression by the Burma Army within ethnic lands. From the start of this new front in Burma, violence has again increased and thousands more people have been displaced.”

FBR warn that the “use of air power against ethnic groups (who do not have air power) and the civilians caught in the crossfire. The volume of fighting represented here threatens to escalate further and create an even worse humanitarian crisis.”

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