Over one hundred thousand Kachin IDPs trapped in Myanmar camps
Civil war between the Myanmar Army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) on northern Myanmar’s Kachin state since 2011 continues to be a nightmare for the Christian majority ethnic Kachin people.
When a seventeen-year bilateral ceasefire agreement between the two parties broke down in 2011, tens of thousands of Kachin became internally displaced people (IDPs). Despite the government’s attempt to move some of them back, it has not become a reality for most of the IDPs.
The director of the Humanity Institute in Kachin’s capital of Myitkyina, Francis Saw Htoo, told Radio Free Asia, “It is still not a good time for us to return according to the situation on the ground. There is no systematic plan to clear landmines, and the government army and the KIA have no plan or agreement for the IDPs to return home.”
“If we return home in this situation, we won’t feel secure physically or mentally,” he added. Even with those who were fortunate enough to return, they face new challenges as the resources back home are scarce.
To date, the clashes have left hundreds of citizens dead and caused more than one hundred and five thousand people to be internally displaced. According to the United Nations for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), over one hundred and seventy Myanmar camps hold these IDPs, along with their northern neighbour, the Shan state.