March 1st, 2013
HART Visit to Burma’s Kachin, Shan and Karen/Karenni Peoples
HART returned this week from visiting the Kachin, Shan and Karen/Karenni peoples of Burma.
While the international community, including the British government, celebrates recent reforms in Burma, including the freedom for the pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kii to participate in the nation’s political process and to travel abroad, the Burmese Government is responsible for escalating problems in many of the ethnic national States, including those of the Kachin, Shan, Karen and Karenni peoples.
HART visited Kachin State as well as meeting with partners working in Shan, Karen and Karreni States to obtain up-to-date information on the political and humanitarian situation. HART witnessed evidence of human rights violations particularly in Kachin State following the breakdown of 17 years of ceasefire in June 2011.
On Thursday, Baroness Cox addressed the British House of Lords, asking what assessment the British Government have made of the current situation in Burma, with reference to the Kachin, Shan and Rohingya ethnic national peoples:
‘I have just returned from Kachin state where a 17-year ceasefire was broken by the Burmese army. Fighting continues with widespread violations of human rights, including torture, killings, rape and an aerial bombardment causing 75,000 civilians to flee to camps or hide in the jungle. In Shan state, a military offensive caused hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee their homes, and the Rohingya people have been reduced to conditions of severe destitution and massive displacement.
Therefore, can the Minister give an assurance that Her Majesty’s Government, while welcoming recent reforms, will press the Burmese Government to protect and promote the rights of all ethnic national peoples?’
Baroness Warsi replied that ‘On every occasion… we have taken the opportunity to raise the issue of minority groups. All communities must deserve rights as Burma moves forward on its democratic journey.’
The HART visit report can be downloaded below.
The full text from Baroness Cox’s question in Parliament can be access at:http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201213/ldhansrd/text/130228-0001.htm#13022861000923
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