Waingmaw Township IDPs Want Security Guarantee Regarding Their Resettlement

Monday, November 23, 2020

Internally displaced persons (IDPs) planning to return to their Waingmaw Township village in Kachin State have asked that the government, military, and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) help them with their process of resettlement.

According to the Kachin Humanitarian Concern Committee (KHCC), nearly 800 IDPs from 253 families will return to Dabert Yang village early next year.

IDPs said that government officials need to take responsibility for providing education, healthcare, food and shelter in order to facilitate their return, but the military and KIA need to ensure that they will be safe from armed conflict.

“We are farmers… We will go to work on our farms when we arrive in our village,” said Sut Awng, who lives in the section of Mai Na camp in Waingmaw Township run by the Kachin Baptist Convention. “We want our security to be guaranteed. Both the Burma Army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) should take care of our security… the Burma Army and the KIA have yet to sign a ceasefire agreement. That’s why one of the main things we want is a security guarantee.”

The KHCC will provide shelter and food rations to the returning IDPs for the initial months after their resettlement. Hka Li, deputy secretary 3 of the KHCC, said that they would provide rice, cooking oil, salt, and beans to the resettled IDPs for three to six months.

Za Nan, who lives in the Roman Catholic section of Mai Na camp, said she’s happy about the prospect of going back home.

“I didn’t know how to work in Mai Na. I want to go home. I was so happy when I heard we can go home. My name is already on the list of people who want to return home,” she told NMG.

The IDPs are expected to return in March 2021. The preliminary construction of the villagers’ homes is starting this week.

“After removing landmines, we will start construction in the village around November 25. We expect the construction will be completed in February,” the KHCC’s Hka Li said.

The Burmese military is carrying out landmine clearance.

Hka Li emphasized that the IDP resettlement is the result of KHCC negotiations with the government, military, and the KIA, since the IDPs live in a KIA-controlled area.

“We have negotiated with the responsible organizations We already discussed it… We reported that IDPs would return to 17 villages. They already agreed to it: the government, army and the KIA agreed on the villages. Therefore, IDPs can safely return to their villages,” he told NMG.

A General Administration Department officer for Waingmaw, a land management officer and immigration officers visited Dabert Yang on November 12 and have a list of the IDPs who want to return.

The IDPs have been displaced since the Burma Army and KIA resumed fighting in 2011, when a previous ceasefire broke down. A new agreement has not yet been signed.