Burma's Ethnic Leaders Call for Sanctions to Remain
The United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) is an ethnic alliance composed of a dozen ethnic armed groups, including those who have signed preliminary ceasefire agreements, like the Karen National Union (KNU), as well as those in active combat like the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO). These ethnic leaders realize that Burma's military shouldn't be rewarded for ongoing aggression and human rights abuses "It is necessary for the international community to oppose and pressure the [Burma Army] for its wrong actions.” They are calling on the international community"not to suspend or lift the remaining political, military, financial and economic sanctions." Read the full statement here.
In a strong sign of unity, the UNFC stated its deep concern for the ongoing violence in Kachin state, and how "an attack on a member is the same as an attack on all the members." These ethnic leaders cannot see how President Thein Sein's ceasefire talks could be genuine as long as attacks continue in Kachin areas. Stay updated on conflict and human rights in Burma by following our Crisis Map.
The UNFC have now set a deadline of June 10, 2012: If the Burma military doesn't' stop its aggression by then, the other existing ceasefire agreements will possibly be suspended. This could lead to a complete breakdown of ceasefire talks and a widespread escalation of violence in Burma. It is through standing against the military's aggression they hope to rechart the course of Burma towards a viable durable peaceful political settlement.
While government officials discuss ceasefire agreements with some ethnic groups, the military aggressively attacks others. The attacks against civilians in Kachin State have been ongoing. People are fleeing their homes to escape the conflict, says one displaced Kachin "When the soldiers came to our village, they separate men and women, they tortures men and rapes women, we can’t bear it anymore so we have fled." Daw Aung San Suu Kyi recently encouraged caution about being too optimistic about change in Burma, and left it up to the American people to decide about sanctions. Do you want our government to give Burma's military leaders the huge reward of lifting sanctions while they are still committing atrocities? No we must stand with Burma’s oppressed minorities.
United to End Genocide has urged its members to call Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell to not allow the Obama administration to lift an investment ban on Burma this week. We need to act now to tell Assistant Secretary Campbell at the State Department to slow down the lifting of the investment ban. Can you call his office today at 202-647-9596. Click here for talking points.
U.S. Campaign for Burma