Undermining Trust Building: Human Rights Situation During the Northern Ceasefire
In late December 2018, amid ongoing and heavy armed conflict in Kachin and Shan states, the Burma army declared a four-month unilateral ceasefire in northern and north-eastern Burma. The announcement of the Burma army’s first ever truce was met with cautious optimism by ethnic armed organisations (EAOs) and welcomed as a constructive gesture by many observers and analysts of the peace process.
However, despite this overture, the Burma army has continued to engage in armed clashes with EAOs in Kachin and Shan states, while establishing new military camps throughout the region. Indiscriminate gunfire, artillery attacks and aerial bombardments by Burma army soldiers against EAO positions over the initial four-month ceasefire and its renewal have led to villager deaths, injuries, displacement and increasing militarisation by Burma army forces.
During this period, ND-Burma organisations documented numerous human rights abuses against civilians, including extrajudicial killings; arbitrary arrest, detention and torture; sexual violence; landmine incidents; and indiscriminate aerial and mortar campaigns in civilian areas by Burma army soldiers, as well as violations against civilians by EAOs.
These ongoing offensives by the Burma army in Shan and Kachin states as well as the exclusion of the Arakan Army from the ceasefire despite heavy fighting in Rakhine and Chin states and the urging of their inclusion by its Northern Alliance allies, have marred the ceasefire’s implementation and undermined meaningful dialogue meant to reinvigorate Burma’s floundering peace process.
Without a sincere commitment to overtures of peace such as the northern ceasefire or other peace-related activities by the Burma army, there will be no genuine progress towards peace and an end to hostilities in Burma. The Burma army must keep their word for trust building to occur, and this extends to guarantees of non-recurrence of human rights violations towards conflict- affected communities. Without a sincere effort on the part of the Burma army, there will be no trust and no concrete progress in the peace process.
Network for Human Rights Documentation Burma
+66 (0) 815956138 Advocacy Team
Lway Chee Sangar
+95 (0) 9791530451 TWO
ND-Burma is a network that consists of 12 member organisations who represent a range of ethnic nationalities, women and former political prisoners. ND-Burma member organisations have been documenting human rights abuses and fighting for justice for victims since 2004. The network consists of six Full Members and six Affiliate Members as follows:
- Assistance Association for Political Prisoners – Burma
- Human Rights Foundation of Monland
- Kachin Women’s Association – Thailand
- Ta’ang Women’s Organization
- Ta’ang Students and Youth Union
- Tavoyan Women’s Union (TWU)
- All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress
- Association Human Rights Defenders and Promoters
- Chin Human Rights Organization
- East Bago – Former Political Prisoners Network
- Pa-O Youth Organization
- Progressive Voice
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