Kachin Groups And Gov’t Make Plans To Repatriate IDPs

Most IDPs say they want to go home as soon as possible but only after a credible plan has been established for their safe and secure return.

By Network Media Group
Thursday, May 23, 2019

A meeting to discuss the safe return of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) that fled from their villages from fighting between the Burma Army and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) is planned tomorrow by the government’s National Reconciliation and Peace Center (NRPC) and Kachin Humanitarian Concern Committee (KHCC).

KHCC chairman Rev. Dr Hkalam Samson told NMG the IDPs will start to be repatriated to their villages after an agreement is worked out with NRPC and the educational and healthcare sectors of the government.

Most IDPs say they want to go home as soon as possible but only after a credible plan has been established for their safe and secure return. No-one wants to flee fighting and end up living in a camp again.

Awng Latt, who fled from Tanine, told NMG he’s concerned about fighting between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Burma Army.

“Although I want to return home, I’m worried we will suffer again. The main thing is we we have security. If our safety is guaranteed and government forces withdraw from our village it will better for us,” he said.

After the Army and KIA clashed in Aung Lod in Tanine township in early 2018, some IDPs fled to Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State.

Ah Naw said they don’t get enough food to eat in the camp she is living in Chiphwe. Fighting near her village Kan Pai Yang forced her to move to the camp.

“In the past, we received enough food rations but the assistance was reduced. It will be difficult if we return to our village, but I want to go home,” Ah Naw said.

The Kachin Baptist Church opened two camps in Chiphwe for 500 IDPs that fled from fighting from 15 villages in 2012.

IDPs living in Naywonni IDP camp, located in Namkham, said they can’t go home after their village Olanpa was destroyed by the Myanmar Army. Soldiers are still stationed in the village that is located in Mansi township.

Lway Win Win Swe said she wants to return to his home if the landmines around her village are removed and the Army leaves the area.

Hkalam Samson said the repatriation of IDPs will be handled with dignity and in line with international standards.

“Our process depends on a ceasefire agreement between the KIO (Kachin Independence Organization) and government. This is the first thing. The second is deciding which IDPs will be returned to their villages if clashes are still happening.”

The NRPC and KHCC met in Naypyitaw on April 26 to discuss procedures for repatriating the IDPs.

Under a program administered by the Army, 150 IDPs were returned to Nam San Yang on January 30 and 200 returned to Nam San Yang on March 5.

Fighting has uprooted over 150,000 villagers from about 300 villages after a seventeen-year ceasefire with the KIO was broken by the Burma Army in June 2011.