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Armed conflict in Kachin State - general articles

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Title: Myanmar’s military: Money and guns
Date of publication: 06 December 2013
Description/subject: "Since the military junta’s announcement in 2010 that they were willing to begin a transition to democracy and implement democratic reforms arms imports from Chinese, Russian and other outside supplies have risen dramatically. Arms imports into the country in 2011 surged to an all time high of nearly $700 million, more than double the highest annual figure since 1989 and remained almost as high in 2012. Fatalities in Burma’s armed conflicts have also risen during these years as a more than decade-long downward trend was reversed following the massive rearming of the military and its subsequent offensives against the Kachin Independence Army, which began in June of 2011..."
Author/creator: Jacob Sommer
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 14 July 2014

Title: The Myanmar-Kachin truce
Date of publication: 31 May 2013
Description/subject: "The Kachin Independence Army and the Myanmar government have agreed a new truce, bringing a tentative halt to the war that re-ignited on 9 June 2011. That war ran for far too long, with too many killed and too much damage done. Regular New Mandala readers will be aware of my deep interest in this topic, and the many words I have spilled on it over the years. For now, it’s too early to guess whether this truce will hold but the signals from the negotiations in Myitkyina are overwhelmingly positive. We can all appreciate that the challenges ahead are immense, and that building the foundations for a new political arrangement in northern Myanmar will not be easy. But the effort by all sides to find common ground and bring a halt to hostilities is exactly what’s needed to create momentum for lasting peace. It won’t happen by accident..."
Author/creator: Nicholas Farrelly
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 16 July 2014

Individual Documents

Title: Conflict in Kachin continues
Date of publication: 07 April 2017
Description/subject: "As recent events in Rakhine state draw international attention to fragility in Myanmar, the armed conflict in Kachin state continues to be sidelined, despite approaching its sixth anniversary and a severely deteriorating situation in recent months. Armed clashes are rampant, thousands are being displaced or re-displaced, humanitarian access is extremely restricted – particularly to areas controlled by the Kachin Independence Organisation – and displaced people have minimal safe options for relocation. Armed clashes in recent months near existing IDP camps causing more than 6,000 IDPs to be re-displaced are increasing the sense of fear and anxiety, as one recently re-displaced person explained..."
Author/creator: Hkinjawng Naw (Laser) and Dustin Barter
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 22 December 2017

Title: Myanmar: The Dilemma of Ceasefires but No Peace
Date of publication: 19 October 2016
Description/subject: "...Myanmar’s future could still be bright. But as military offensives continue, it is vital to recognise that the recourse to armed tactics is not just a Kachin issue but a national issue as well. If there is a reversion to military rule, it might not make much difference for the Kachins who have been living under this reality for many decades, but it must give real cause for concern to everyone who supports democracy. Political solutions will never be achieved on the battlefield. Under such a scenario, there will be no winners but just losers. Military-first tactics will never end, and the present political landscape will not mark a step in transition towards peace and democratic change. Rather, the country will remain enmeshed in the unending cycles of conflict, ceasefires and broken promises that underpin state failure and national under-achievement. The task of finding peaceful solutions thus falls to us all: political parties, ethnic armed organisations, community and civil society groups, media, faith-based groups, individual activists for peace, and coalitions of interest groups. It is time to say that “enough is enough” to military offensives. At a time of critical national change, the attitude of waiting until armed conflict is over to settle things will not work. Popular momentum is building. What is now needed is to forge a national movement in the same way as the “Save the Irrawaddy” campaign that halted the construction of the Myitsone Dam under the Thein Sein government. People of all ethnic, political, religious and geographical backgrounds need to come together in one voice to stop the war before it is too late...."
Author/creator: Lahpai Seng Raw
Language: English
Source/publisher: Transnational Institute (TNI)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 20 October 2016

Title: Women of the Kachin Conflict: Trafficking and Militarized Femininity on the Burma-China Border
Date of publication: 26 July 2015
Description/subject: "Trafficking and Militarized Femininity on the Burma-China Border Kachin State is an ethnic region in northern Burma that has long been in conflict with the central Burmese government.1 In 2011, a seventeen-year cease-fire was broken, resulting in the resumption of active warfare between the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO)—the political arm of the Kachin people—and the Burmese military, at the government’s behest. In spite of ongoing attempts at peace negotiations, the Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand has documented an alarming number of atrocities—including rape, arbitrary arrest and torture—against civilians (Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand, 2013). The area has been documented to be an active conflict zone resulting in one of the worst humanitarian crisis’ in the Mekong Sub-Region (Human Rights Watch, 2014). According to a report by the prior Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Burma, over 120,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have fled to border areas of Burma and China to escape the fighting (Quintana, 2014), and these communities suffer from a lack of basic necessities and little to no foreign aid. These desperate conditions have left civilians—women, in particular—very vulnerable. As a result, trafficking in women – often to Yunnan Province as forced brides – is on the rise. This form of trafficking, however, has not been made a priority on the policy agendas of the Burmese or Chinese governments, and there is currently no official anti-trafficking policy operating within Kachin State..."
Author/creator: Erin M. Kamler
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015
Format/size: pdf (161)
Alternate URLs: http://rcsd.soc.cmu.ac.th/web/Burma/home.php#
Date of entry/update: 08 August 2015

Title: We Are Not Rebels… We Fight for Democracy: Ta’ang (TNLA) Soldiers
Date of publication: 13 July 2015
Description/subject: "Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), the armed wing of Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF), is one of the ethnic resistance armed organisations that vows not to lay down arms until there is a guarantee of political negotiations. Burma Link spoke with two TNLA soldiers, Mai and Mai Main, who were sent by their leaders to study human rights and politics in Mae Sot, so that they could go back to Ta’ang land and educate other soldiers. These two soldiers studied in Mae Sot for a year, and believed it is their responsibility to go back to Burma to educate others and safeguard their people’s rights. In this interview, they share their story on how and why they became involved with the TNLA and why the Ta’ang people so strongly support their army. Mai and Mai Main, aged 23 and 26, are now back in the battle fields of northern Shan State." ..."END NOTE: Although TNLA is a member of the ethnic alliance United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), the government has tried to exclude the group from the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) talks. TNLA is an ally of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), and fights alongside the Arakan Army (AA) and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) in northern Shan State, to obtain freedom and to establish a genuine federal union. TNLA also fights to eliminate cultivation, production, sale and use of drugs in their traditional lands. Read more."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 17 March 2016

Title: Making sense of Myanmar’s borderland conflicts
Date of publication: 15 June 2015
Description/subject: "Four different angles on Myanmar’s contemporary conflicts were on offer at the recent 2015 Myanmar/Burma Update, with speakers providing fresh insights into the roots of the Kachin conflict, the use of landmines in Burma, the role of gender in conflict, and the Pa-O-Self-Administrated Zone. Questioning the view that conflict between the Kachin minority and the Burma military is primarily resource-driven, Dr Costas Laoutides and Dr Anthony Ware of Deakin University suggested that clashes over resources are a manifestation of deeper problems to do with identity. Laoutides and Ware exposed powerful historical narratives as ideological roots of the conflict, gleaned from fieldwork interviews with key Kachin informants, including state officials and armed group members."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 24 June 2015

Title: China, the United States and the Kachin Conflict
Date of publication: January 2014
Description/subject: KEY FINDINGS: 1. The prolonged Kachin conflict is a major obstacle to Myanmar’s national reconciliation and a challenging test for the democratization process. 2. The KIO and the Myanmar government differ on the priority between the cease-fire and the political dialogue. Without addressing this difference, the nationwide peace accord proposed by the government will most likely lack the KIO’s participation. 3. The disagreements on terms have hindered a formal cease-fire. In addition, the existing economic interest groups profiting from the armed conflict have further undermined the prospect for progress. 4. China intervened in the Kachin negotiations in 2013 to protect its national interests. A crucial motivation was a concern about the “internationalization” of the Kachin issue and the potential US role along the Chinese border. 5. Despite domestic and external pressure, the US has refrained from playing a formal and active role in the Kachin conflict. The need to balance the impact on domestic politics in Myanmar and US-China relations are factors in US policy. 6.A The US has attempted to discuss various options of cooperation with China on the Kachin issue. So far, such attempts have not been accepted by China.
Author/creator: Yun Sun
Language: English
Source/publisher: Stimson Center (Great Powers and the Changing Myanmar - Issue Brief No. 2)
Format/size: pdf (1.1MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.stimson.org/images/uploads/research-pdfs/Myanmar_Issue_Brief_No_2_Jan_2014_WEB_3.pdf
Date of entry/update: 23 January 2014

Title: Briefing: Fresh hopes for peace in Myanmar's Kachin State
Date of publication: 03 June 2013
Description/subject: "KACHIN STATE, 3 June 2013 (IRIN) - The UN and others have welcomed recent peace talks aimed at reaching a cease-fire in Myanmar's conflict-affected Kachin State, but building trust will take time, say experts. On 31 May, the Burmese government and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), which has been fighting for greater autonomy for decades, agreed to further dialogue and talks on the resettlement of tens of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs). According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there are more than 85,000 IDPs in Kachin and Shan states (both in the north), including over 50,000 (58.5 percent) in areas controlled by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the military wing of the KIO. Many others are staying with host families. Over the past two years, hundreds have been killed in the conflict and there has been extensive damage to livelihoods and infrastructure. According to the recently released inter-agency Kachin Response Plan, an upsurge in fighting in late 2012 triggered the displacement of several thousand more people. Since the resumption of peace talks in February, fewer have been displaced, but there have not yet been significant numbers of IDPs returning to their homes due to ongoing tensions, lack of livelihood opportunities, and landmines..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: IRIN
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 06 June 2013

Title: PARTIES TO THE CONFLICT - KIO-Supported Armed Groups in the Kachin Conflict
Date of publication: June 2013
Description/subject: CONCLUSION: "The ethnic situation in the country in relation to the peace process has improved, yet major obstacles still remain. Many armed ethnic actors have called for a ‘Panglong style dialogue’ which the Government has suggested will happen shortly. This all-inclusive dialogue offers armed groups a number of opportunities to finally realise their aspirations. Nevertheless, a number of other armed ethnic actors will need to rethink their positions. This political dialogue will exclude some actors, either because they have no political aims or are much smaller and considered inconsequential. While the Ta-ang have made clear there aims, the future of the Arakan Army and the ABSDF-North remains firmly in the hands of the Kachin."
Author/creator: Editor: Lian H. Sakhong; Author: Paul Keenan
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Centre for Ethnic Studies (Briefing Paper No. 14)
Format/size: pdf (224K)
Alternate URLs: http://burmaethnicstudies.net/pdf/BCES-BP-14.pdf
Date of entry/update: 08 July 2013

Title: Ongoing struggles
Date of publication: May 2013
Description/subject: Key Points: • Myanmar's central democratic reforms have received broad backing, enabling it to boost its legitimacy and consolidate its hold on power. • Although tentative ceasefires have been concluded with most of the ethno-nationalist armed groups, there is no clear timeline or plan to address longstanding demands for self-rule and the protection of cultural identities. • Meanwhile, the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO), the principal protagonist in the struggle for ethnic rights, has been the focus of sustained military offensives. As Myanmar's democratic reform process rumbles on, military offensives continue despite ceasefires between most of the ethno-nationalist rebel armies and the government. Curtis W Lambrecht examines the road to peace in the country.
Author/creator: Curtis W Lambrecht
Language: English
Source/publisher: Jane's Terrorism and Security Monitor, May 2013,
Format/size: pdf (95K)
Date of entry/update: 03 May 2013

Title: The Kachin Crisis: Peace Must Prevail
Date of publication: March 2013
Description/subject: Conclusions and Recommendations: * The government should halt all offensive operations against the KIO and other armed ethnic forces. Armed conflict will worsen, not resolve, Burma’s ethnic and political crises. The violence contradicts promises to achieve reform through dialogue, and undermines democratic and economic progress for the whole country. * Ethnic peace must be prioritised as an integral part of political, economic and constitutional reform. Dialogue must be established to include ethnic groups that are outside the national political system. * Restrictions on humanitarian aid to the victims of conflict must be lifted. With hundreds of thousands of displaced persons in the ethnic borderlands, a long-term effort is required to ensure that aid truly reaches to the most vulnerable and needy peoples as part of any process of peace-building. * Economic and development programmes must benefit local peoples. Land-grabbing and unsustainable business practices must halt, and decisions on the use of natural resources and regional development must have the participation of local communities and representatives. * The international community must play an informed and neutral role in supporting ethnic peace and political reform. Human rights’ progress remains essential, all ethnic groups should be included, and economic investments made only with the consultation of local peoples.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Transnational Institute (TNI), Burma Centre Netherlands
Format/size: pdf (430K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.tni.org/sites/www.tni.org/files/download/bpb10.pdf
Date of entry/update: 12 March 2013

Title: URGENT APPEAL From Inside Kachin State (25 January 2013)
Date of publication: 25 January 2013
Description/subject: "The following urgent appeal and harrowing account of the situation in northern Burma comes from Kachin State, where long-time Burma researcher and author Guy Horton reports that not only is there no sign of the promised ceasefire between the Burmese Army and the Kachin Independence Army, but the fighting is intensifying and the humanitarian situation is worsening..."
Author/creator: Guy Horton
Language: English
Source/publisher: The Best Friend International
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.thebestfriend.org/2013/01/28/urgent-appeal-from-inside-kachin-state/#more-13173
Date of entry/update: 30 January 2013

Title: A serious threat to peace in Myanmar
Date of publication: 10 January 2013
Description/subject: "The fighting in Kachin areas – the Kachin State itself and Kachin-majority parts of northern Shan State – has been one of the most serious threats to peace during Myanmar’s transition since it erupted in June 2011, ending a seventeen-year-long ceasefire. It remains the last of Myanmar’s decades-long ethnic conflicts not currently to have a ceasefire. Since Crisis Group first raised concerns in November 2011 about the grave consequences the breakdown of the ceasefire could pose for the country’s New Peace Initiative, other Storm Clouds have gathered on the country’s horizon, including virulent inter-communal violence in Rakhine State. These are serious challenges that must be overcome if Myanmar is to keep its broadly positive transition on track. But as Myanmar can see from the Indonesian experience, transitions are complicated, long, and often messy processes. They do not always end up as those who advocated or started them intended. There are many deviations and frequently bumps in the road..."
Author/creator: Jim Della-Giacoma
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Crisis Group
Format/size: html (34K)
Date of entry/update: 08 April 2013

Title: Myanmar airstrikes reopen ethnic wounds
Date of publication: 10 January 2013
Description/subject: "The past few weeks have seen some of the heaviest fighting in Myanmar's decades-long civil war with government forces launching determined attacks against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), an ethnic force in the far north of the country. And for the first time ever, the government has used helicopter gunships and attack aircraft against the country's ethnic rebels. Most of the fighting is taking place around the KIA's headquarters at the border town of Laiza near China, and the government seems determined to crush the Kachin resistance and gain control over the area now administered by the rebels. The military campaign also sends signals to about a dozen other ethnic armies which have entered into ceasefire agreements with the government. In a statement issued on January 1, the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), an umbrella organisation of 12 such ethnic groups based mainly on the Thai border in the south, said they felt threatened by the offensive as well - and called for unity among Myanmar's multitude of traditionally factious ethnic militias. "If we are not able to act collectively now we will be destroyed individually," said a participant at the meeting that adopted the statement..."
Author/creator: Bertil Lintner
Language: English
Source/publisher: AL Jazeera
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 15 January 2013

Title: More war than peace in Myanmar
Date of publication: 18 December 2012
Description/subject: "LAIZA - Helicopter gunships hover in the sky above a battlefield. The constant sound of explosions and gunfire pierce the night for an estimated 100,000 refugees and internally displaced people. Military hospitals are full of wounded government soldiers, while bridges, communication lines and other crucial infrastructure lie in war-torn ruins. The images and sounds on the ground in Myanmar's northern Kachin State shatter the impression of peace, reconciliation and a steady march towards democracy that President Thein Sein's government has bid to convey to the outside world. In reality, the situation in this remote corner of one of Asia's historically most troubled nations is depressingly normal..."
Author/creator: Bertil Lintner
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Asia Times Online"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 18 December 2012

Title: Four questions about the Kachin war
Date of publication: 15 November 2012
Description/subject: "...As we all know, the new war in the Kachin and Shan State’s commenced on 9 June 2011, after a ceasefire had held for 18 years. Over those ceasefire years the Kachin Independence Army/Organisation and the Burmese Army were prepared to do business. They developed mechanisms for managing long-term grievances and the political, economic and cultural interests of the peoples of northern Burma. The fact that the ceasefire never led to a final peace agreement was a major frustration for all parties. Pragmatically, though, they considered the ceasefire better than the alternatives. Until, that is, the war re-ignited. This new war did not spark in isolation, and my goal is to introduce four questions to help us contextualise the new Kachin conflict. We should also bear in mind that since President Thein Sein took power there have been many other parts of the country where conflict has erupted. This map illustrates the 2011 hotspots. When the year is finished the map for 2012 will look almost as stark, especially once sectarian staff in Rakhine State is included. With the transition to more participatory politics underway, Burma’s tragic history of inter-ethnic strife is clearly still not over. For today my four questions will, I hope, set our minds to the political context of renewed fighting in Kachin areas. The questions are: *What is this new war? *Why is the government fighting the Kachin? *What would a new deal look like? *Is democracy a precondition for peace? ..."
Author/creator: Nicholas Farrelly
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 16 November 2012

Title: Kachin KIA and Myanmar Army 2012-No.008
Date of publication: July 2012
Description/subject: News items about the Kachin situation, ceasefires, refugees and human rights
Language: English
Source/publisher: Polaris Burmese Library Collections
Format/size: pdf (1.94MB)
Date of entry/update: 07 October 2012

Date of publication: 08 June 2012
Description/subject: • In the past year, the Tatmadaw has deployed nearly 25% of its battalions to Kachin State, escalating its war with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and bringing further suffering to civilian populations in Kachin State and Northern Shan State. • Tatmadaw soldiers have constantly targeted civilians in Kachin State and Northern Shan States as part of their military operations against the KIA. Human rights abuses have included extrajudicial killings, rape of women, arbitrary arrests, torture, forced displacement, the use of human shields, forced labor, and the confiscation and destruction of property. All of these systematic abuses would be considered war crimes and/or crimes against humanity under international law. • The ongoing conflict has displaced about 75,000 people, including at least 10,000 refugees who crossed the border into China. Despite the severity of the situation, the regime has frustrated relief efforts, severely restricting humanitarian access to local and international organizations. • The KIA’s political leadership, the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), has made repeated attempts to negotiate a lasting peace in Kachin State. However, the regime has rejected the KIO’s request to discuss long-term political solutions prior to a ceasefire agreement. BACKGROUND: 2008 constitution, 2010 elections, BGF, energy projects, and human rights abuses
Language: English
Source/publisher: ALTSEAN-Burma
Format/size: pdf (139K)
Date of entry/update: 09 June 2012