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Myanmar Kachin refugees await resettlement
Publication Date : 29-08-2013
Myanmar authorities have not dealt with the issue of resettling internally displaced people (IDPs) from the Kachin conflict, according to aid groups.
Clashes since June 9, 2011 have forced nearly 200,000 people from over 300 villages in Kachin state to flee their homes. Many are now stuck in government camps despite a tentative ceasefire.
"I don't want live in here anymore. If the government is reluctant to carry out resettlement tasks, it must guarantee that the situation has improved. We will try to resettle ourselves. Our camp has people as old as 70 and above. We all want to go home," said Lar Male, 50, from a refugee camp.
Aid organisations estimate the number of IDPs from the camps in Kachin state's government-controlled areas are more than 34,000 of a total of 100,000 IDPs. The government has reached a seven-point agreement and tentative ceasefire with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) during their talks on May 30.
Sai Aung, who is helping the IDPs from a Buddhist monastery in Waimaw town, said the reason the refugees could not go home was that they still heard sounds of gunfire and that land mines had not been cleared.
A staff officer from the Kachin State Red Cross said there was no plan to carry out resettlement work at the moment.
"We offered to reestablish a village with 300 to 500 households when the chairman of the Myanmar Red Cross Society visited here, but he has not replied yet. Now, international experts are conducting courses on planning and design projects under the patronage of the ICRC," said the staff officer.
Daung Kha is from a task force representing the Kachin Independence Organisation, the political wing of the KIA.
"We are still consulting with local NGOs and town leaders. We are seeking ways together with the government to ensure international standards in rehabilitation work," he said.