As Burma prepares to welcome US President Barack Obama to Naypyidaw in November, human rights groups and activists have been urging Obama to press Burma’s government to improve the country’s socio-political environment.
More than 120 civic organisations have petitioned the Burmese government to probe into the alleged abduction and disappearance of Sumlut Roi Ja, a Kachin woman, who went missing exactly three years ago today.
The 124 Burmese and international organisations that are signatories to the petition have urged the Burmese government to: “Establish an independent and impartial parliamentary commission with a mandate to investigate the disappearance of Sumlut Roi Ja and identify the perpetrators.”
On 28 October 2011, the Burmese army’s Light Infantry Battalion 321 allegedly picked up Sumlut Roi Ja along with her husband and father-in-law near Hkaibang Village, Momauk Township, Kachin State, on allegations of involvement with the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIA).
Kachin, tribal peoples occupying parts of northeastern Myanmar (Burma) and contiguous areas ofIndia (Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland) and China (Yunnan). The greatest number of Kachin live in Myanmar (roughly 790,000), but some 150,000 live in China and a few thousand in India. Numbering about 1012,000 in the late 20th century, they speak a variety of languages of the Tibeto-Burman group and are thereby distinguished as Jinghpaw, or Jingpo (Chingpaw [Ching-p’o], Singhpo), Atsi, Maru (Longvo), Lachid, Nung (Rawang), and Lisu .
The traditional Kachin religion is a form of animistic ancestor cult entailing animalsacrifice. As a result of the arrival of American and European missionaries in Burma beginning in the late 19th century, a majority of the Kachin are Christian, mainly Baptist and Roman Catholic. Among the Kachin in India, Buddhism predominates.