Myanmar Conflict: New Developments Arise Between The Rebels And State Within The Kachin Province Of Northern Myanmar

This week, the BBC news organization published reports regarding new developments of a conflict in Myanmar and specifically, the documented fleeing of 4,000 people from the Kachin region since the beginning of April, as stated by reports published by the UN organization. In accordance to the BBC organization, these refugees have been forced from their home due to the escalation of military violence within the Kachin region, and specifically through the ethnic conflicts arising between the Kachin Independence Organisation and government troops, which patrol the region.

The escalation of violence in this region is thus explicitly seen through the increased use of airstrikes, and artillery barrages perpetrated against resident civilians. Thus, it has produced major fears regarding the safety of other large civilian populations which may be trapped within conflict zones near the Chinese border.

In response to the growing nature of this conflict, the UN’s head office for The Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Mark Cutt, explains that “our biggest concern is for the safety of civilians- including pregnant women, the elderly small children and people with disabilities… We must ensure these people are protected.” In similar responses, the U.S. embassy in Yangon called for change as they stated, “We call upon the government including the military to protect civilian populations and allow humanitarian assistance to be delivered to those affected by the conflicts.”

The sheer scale of this conflict and escalating nature of the violence has created a clear need for the global community to address and intervene in this conflict. The need to protect minorities within the Kachin region against violence and human rights violations is clear, and they must be protected in order to maintain peace in the region.

The crisis, which developed from a breakdown of a ceasefire between the Kachin Independence Organisation and the government, was established in 2011 and has thus left a huge divide within the area which has been continuously reinforced through time. Despite this breakdown globally, there has been more attention drawn on the Rohingya crisis, which has caused 700,000 people to flee to Bangladesh since it began. Similarly, failed management of the situation is blamed on Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, as she has been globally criticized for failing to manage the situation appropriately and for restricting access of humanitarian aid in the Myanmar region.

The failure to appropriately manage, counsel and act have manifested into a full scale regional issue which has forced the fleeing of thousands of men, women and children from their homes. It has produced a variety of detrimental consequences which are simultaneously felt within both physical, environmental and psychological agencies.

The drastic need for the support, protection and enforcement of basic human rights in the region is an urgent necessity which must be met in order to bring peace back to the region. The crude nature of the military regime in the region has forced 4,000 individuals to flee since the beginning of this month and has created a clear index for change in order to preserve peace for the future generations. The urgent need for a truce between the Kachin Independence Organisation and the Myanmar Armed Forces must be facilitated in order to enable both humanitarian and diplomatic aid in the area in order to help support the trapped civilians in the Kachin region. The ever-growing rift between the state and the rebels can no longer be ignored by Aung San Suu Kyi’s government and must be addressed, as the publication and violation of the Kachin inhabitants’ human rights are put to the forefront of responsibility for the global populace.

Ellie Willis