Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Kachin CSOs Urges President Obama to Voice Their Concerns

November 10, 2014

2011_State_of_the_Union_Obama by whitehouse

Kachin Civil Societies in a letter dated Nov 10 call for US President Obama to support peace process, to call upon Burma President Thein Sein and his ruling party to amend constitution, and to refrain from giving legitimacy and prestige through premature military engagement.
President Obama is due to arrive in Naypyidaw on Thursday to participate in the Ninth East Asia Summit and U.S. – ASEAN Summit. This is his second visit to Burma. President Obama will hold bilateral meetings with President Thein Sein and Opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi during his two-day stay in Burma.
In the letter addressed to President Obama, Kachin Civil Societies said, “Humanitarian assistance is still needed for Kachin IDPs until they can return safely home.” They also reminded that return and resettlement of IDPs should be done only when conditions are met to ensure safety, and foreign investment policies should support the peace process, not exacerbate the conflict. Kachin Peace Network organized Kachin Civil Societies organizations from around the world to cosign the joint letter.
The ranking members of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Rubio and Kirk, shared their concerns about Burma’s trajectory in a letter last week. “The Burmese Government has failed to fulfill nearly all commitments to measurably improve Burma’s human rights and nonproliferation practices, made between you and President Thein Sein during your November 2012 visit,” said Rubio and Kirk.
Kachin Alliance, a network of Kachin communities and organizations in US, also expressed similar concerns. “Although we applaud the Burmese government for some progressive actions it has taken, we must denounce its inactivity or unwillingness to curb the violence being committed against unarmed civilians in the Kachin area and other parts of the country,” said in a letter dated Nov 7.
Gum San Nsang, the president of Kachin Alliance said, “We see this trip as a chance to strengthen the relationship with Government of Burma and also reinforce the administration’s commitment to national reconciliation and democratic transition process.” He continued, “I’d like to say to President Obama to use calibrated approach when utilizing sanctions and aids to incentivize national reconciliation.”
Gum San said he told Deputy National Security Advisor Rhodes and Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski in Kachin Alliance’s meetings with US officials that if Government of Burma has genuine intention to resolve the longest civil war in the world, it would invite diverse international observers including US to current ceasefire talks. “Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement without addressing code of conducts and joint monitoring mechanism is not an international norm. Our Kachin public is bearing the brunt of protracted civil war, but we are determined to wait until equitable arrangement come into fruition.” said Gum San.