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Ethnic Violence Escalates In Burma

Bomb shelters built by Kachin refugees, at the Je Yang IDP camp, near Laiza, northeastern Burma, Friday, Jan. 4, 2013.

The United States urges all parties to use restraint and dialogue to settle the conflict.

Violence in Burma’s northern state of Kachin has increased during the past month with airstrikes on a camp in Kachin State near the border with China being the most recent example. The United States is troubled by the escalation of violence and urges all parties to use restraint and dialogue to settle the conflict.

Ethnic Violence Escalates In Burma
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Tens of thousands of people have been displaced since June 2011 when fighting erupted between Burmese forces and the Kachin Independence Army, or KIA, ending a 17-year ceasefire.

The Kachin and other ethnic minority groups have been fighting for greater autonomy in their ethnic states on and off for over 60 years and the Kachin are the only major group in Burma that has not reached a cease-fire with President Thein Sein’s government.

The United States is concerned about the plight of internally displaced persons in Burma and in fiscal year 2012, the U.S. government provided over $30 million in humanitarian assistance to refugees and conflict-affected persons from various ethnic groups.

While Burma has made many positive reforms under Thein Sein’s reformist government including freeing hundreds of political prisoners, abolishing most media censorship and tackling economic reforms, the renewed fighting in Kachin state is deeply concerning. The United States urges both sides to work together to achieve sustainable peace in Kachin State.