by Keith Locke
On Wednesday, Wellington’s Kachin community arrived in Parliament grounds to protest the increasing violence happening in their home province. Kachin state is the Northern most state in Burma, neighbouring China.
The Kachin community told me about the breakdown, last month, of a 17 year ceasefire between the Burmese government and Kachin people. 20,000 people have fled as refugees to the Chinese border, others have gone into the jungles, and none of them have sufficient medical care or provisions.
One woman told me of her fear for her parents and siblings who she had not heard from. According to Wellington’s Kachin community, there are many missing families, particularly in the villages close to an army base.
Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is urging President Thein Sein to begin immediate peace talks. There is little international news coverage on the increasingly violent situation in Burma. We need to offer support, not only to the pro-democracy movement headed by Aung San Suu Kyi, but also to the ethnic groups targeted currently targeted by the Burmese government.