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Published on Monday, 31 December 2012 22:56
Civic organizations have called on both the government and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) to immediately end the war in the northern state of Kachin and implement a peace process.
Civic organizations made the demand at a gathering at the Royal Rose Restaurant in Yangon yesterday. During the event, attendees recounted the consequences and difficulties locals have been facing stemming from an 18-month- long war between the military and KIA.
"We ask both sides to stop their offensive. We don't take sides. Causalities from both sides, regardless of Kachin or Bamar mean they are all our brethren. As members of the public, we demand the immediate halt of the war," said Bo
Bo from 'White Hands' Peace Group.
"We cannot sleep well at night as the ongoing war has included aerial assaults. Civilians have died in the war. So I want my message conveyed to the president that the war must be stopped immediately," a 25-year-old local resident Aryal from Kachin State told reporters at the event by phone.
A letter of request was issued on the occasion, demanding immediate action to stop the Kachin war and prevent civilian deaths. The letter also stated the establishment of a war-free zone, the movement of troops deployed close to the refugee camps and the implementation of a transparent political dialogue through local and foreign mediators.
It also called for stopping human rights violations and rendering humanitarian assistance to more than 100,000 refugees.
"We have organized the event to bring together people and organizations sharing common interest in trying to live in peace and security," said Mya Aye from the 88 Generation Students Group.
He added they have long been exerting peace efforts but the situation has worsened.
Fighting between government army troops and KIA is going on after it has intensified since December 25.
The military gave KIA until December 25 to withdraw troops from the Myitkyina-Banmaw route but it refused. December alone saw about 140 small and large skirmishes.
According to an information officer from the rebel group, the army launched air offensives against KIA on December 28.
Meanwhile, MPs are reportedly planning to propose a peace solution during a parliamentary session scheduled next month.