Myanmar/Burma: Army attacks minorities

Society for Threatened Peoples receives alarming calls for help (Press Release)

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) has expressed concerns for the ethnic minorities in Myanmar. According to eyewitness reports, the country's air force has been attacking the population of the states of Kachin, Shan, and Kayin, and many people have apparently been killed already. Also, many internally displaced persons have sought refuge in these minority-dominated states of Myanmar.

"The military in Myanmar is using the escalating situation throughout the country after the coup to crack down on resistance groups in Kachin and northern Shan State again, without regard for the civilian population," warned Jasna Causevic, the STP's expert on genocide prevention, in Göttingen on Thursday. "The international community and Germany must not simply ignore the attempts to instigate a devastating civil war in Myanmar."

There have been armed conflicts between the military and various ethnic groups – primarily the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) – in Kachin and northern Shan state since 2011. "Due to the latest development, we cannot really hope for a peace process that includes all affected groups," Causevic stated. Before the military coup, the Myanmar government had – as part of its National Strategy on IDP Camp Closure – urged IDPs in Kachin State to return to their villages. "Now, however, a return is no longer possible, and there are already supply shortages in the refugee camps," Causevic reported.

For members of the Rohingya minority – hundreds of thousands of whom have fled from the genocide crimes, mainly to Bangladesh, India, Thailand and Malaysia – the escalation of the conflict in Myanmar has dashed all hopes of return. Human rights organizations are criticizing the inability of the UN Security Council to act and the international reluctance to intervene. Together with Thomas Andrews, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, the STP demanded an initiative and strong coalitions against Myanmar without waiting for the UN Security Council. Further, Myanmar's military should no longer be supported with arms deliveries.

"The German government must also take into account the situation in the region and, together with other states in the international community, intensify its political and diplomatic efforts towards++ Myanmar in order to save lives," Causevic demanded.