07/30/2011, 00.00
INDIA - MYANMAR
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The Burmese regime "use" Aung San Suu Kyi to cover the violence against Kachin

by Nirmala Carvalho
Waves of refugees fleeing across the border to China. But the government blocks the borders and prevents the entry of aid to war zones. The Nobel Laureate is open to mediate for peace. Activist: the meeting between Suu Kyi and the Myanmar Minister is window-dressing, to gain international credibility.
New Delhi (AsiaNews) - The civil war between Burmese army and Kachin ethnic militias, to the north of Myanmar, along the border with China, continues to cause waves of refugees fleeing across the border. Soldiers threaten the civilian population, killing and raping women and girls, the situation is serious and the war front covers a variety of areas. So says Raw Zau, coordinator of the Kachin Refugee Committee (KRC), a humanitarian organization based in New Delhi, India, and active in bringing aid to the Burmese minority. Speaking to AsiaNews he also accuses the Burmese leadership of exploiting the image of Aung San Suu Kyi to cover the crimes committed by the regime and gain credibility within the international community.

From 9 June the northern Kachin State has been the scene of a bloody conflict that has sowed death and terror among the population. So far there have been 32 confirmed cases of sexual violence against Kachin women by the  Burmese soldiers, 13 of which ended with the murder of the victim. On 26 July in a gun battle between the two sides four Burmese soldiers were killed and 12 others were wounded in an ambush by the Kachin Independence Army militia (Kia).

In order to suppress the resistance, says the activist Zau Raw, "the central government continues to prevent the entry of humanitarian aid to the war zone, in the areas controlled by the Kachin and along the border with China." Only in the last two weeks about two thousand families living in seven villages located near Bhamo, have fled their homes. Thousand others have fled from Kala Yang, Tapant and Kazue, by order of the authorities.

The coordinator of Kachin Refugee Committee (KRC) has criticized Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese opposition leader, for not taking a long position on the conflict. But recently the Nobel Laureate said she was ready to mediate between the government and ethnic groups, to achieve a ceasefire. In an open letter sent to the president Thein Sein and Kachin leaders, the activist calls for a "peaceful solution" in the interests of "all ethnic minorities in the Union of Myanmar."

Raw Zau then accused the Burmese government - which took office last April and is an emanation of the military regime - of "exploiting" the image of the "Lady" to ease international pressure. He recalls that the woman was released after the "farce" elections of November 2010 to cover allegations of fraud and early voting. And now that the army is engaged in a civil war against a minority, it is organizing "a meeting between Aung San Suu Kyi and a government minister for the sole purpose of diverting attention" from its atrocities and war crimes and crimes against 'humanity' in the ethnic areas.
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