Burmese government blocks aid to Kachin war refugees

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The Burmese government has told domestic NGOs not to give aid to Kachin war refugees who fled to KIO areas along the Sino-Burma border after the outbreak of war, according to a Kachin refugee relief committee official.


kachin-refugees-flee-2sKachin war refugees arrive in Laiza, the headquarters of the Kachin Independence Organization. Photo: Citizen Journalist

Mai Ja said that during the heavy fighting between the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and government troops in mid-June, the KIO requested NGOs to give assistance to refugees and the NGOs responded positively. But the NGO relief supplies have been blocked by the government, she told Mizzima.

“One NGO told to me that the government told them not to give relief assistance to the Kachin refugees,” she said. “The government threatened that they would withdraw their registration unless they followed the order. No NGO is allowed to give relief assistance to us.


“They had a plan to help us but they cancelled the plan when the government put pressure on them,” she said.

Mai Ja said NGOs first agreed to give cash assistance when the war broke out on June 15. She said the government has told at least three NGOs not to communicate with the KIO.

A source close to one NGO said the government told NGOs about three weeks ago to sign a pledge not to provide assistance to the war refugees.

The KIO said that the number of war refugees in Laiza, the KIO headquarters has reached about 17,000. No NGO has provided any assistance to the refugees, said relief committee head Dwe Pi Sar.

“They gave a verbal order to NGOs in Myitkyina not to provide assistance to refugees. Not only NGOs, they also ordered the religious leaders not to help us. I believe  blocking of assistance to the people is a violation of human rights,” he said.

Many NGOs including AZG, World Concern, WHO, Nyein Foundation, Shalom Foundation and Mitta Foundation operate in Myitkyina.

Mai Ja said, “We are not the armed group. We are the cannon fodder between these two armed groups, the KIO and government troops. The war refugees had to flee from the war zone when the war broke out. We are not opposing the government. Blocking relief supplies to the refugees means starving them to death. This government has no sympathy and no humanitarian consideration at all,” she told Mizzima.

Many refugees are still afraid to return to their homes because they fear the fighting will resume, in spite of on-going cease-fire negotiations

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