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Myanmar's human rights body calls for swift action to end Kachin conflict
Publication Date : 21-01-2013
Myanmar’s human rights body added its voice to the chorus calling for an end to conflict in the northern state of Kachin, saying the humanitarian situation there was deteriorating and that access to aid was limited.
"It is a great concern that the humanitarian situation in Kachin State is worsening as a result of the conflict while access to humanitarian aid in conflict areas and along the border [between China] and Kachin State is difficult," the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission said in a statement issued on Friday.
The conflict is having the most effect on the vulnerable, particularly women, children and the elderly, and urgent action from all sides is necessary to ensure they receive access to humanitarian aid, it said.
"The commission, therefore, strongly urges that the question of humanitarian access to the victims of conflict and how safe passage for humanitarian supplies can be guaranteed, be addressed as an urgent matter in the peace dialogue," the commission said. "The international donor community also may play an important role in the supply of humanitarian assistance," it added.
The commission called for greater effort to ensure a mutually acceptable solution as quickly as possible, warning that the conflict was endangering the effort to ensure democracy.
The escalating conflict has forced more than 165,000 people into refugee camps: more than 100,000 in the government-controlled area and more than 65,000 in the area controlled by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).
The Kachin Independence Organisation has said it welcomes international aid organisations, including United Nations agencies, but said such aid was difficult to access due to restrictions placed on it by the Union government.
In an interview with 7 Days Journal, Deputy Information Minister Ye Htut said that the government was concerned that the aid would be used to bolster the KIA, saying it needed to monitor whether KIA troops and their families were hiding among the refugees.