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ICC Note: The Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) has been helping internally displaced Kachin after the tatmadaw (Burmese army) resumed its offensive against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in 2011. However, tatmadaw recently threatens to take action against KBC for associating with illegal entity, forcing KBC to halt its humanitarian work in the region.

06/15/2018 Myanmar (Radio Free Asia) – An evangelical Christian organization based in northern Myanmar’s Kachin state has stopped its humanitarian work in areas controlled by an ethnic militia in the conflict-ridden region after the Myanmar military warned that it would take action against the group for associating with an illegal entity, an official from the NGO said Friday.

The Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC), headquartered in the state capital Myitkyina, has helped civilians displaced by fighting between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Myanmar forces since hostilities resumed in June 2011 following the breakdown of a 17-year bilateral peace accord.

A surge in the clashes this year in the long-running civil war between the KIA and Myanmar army has displaced more than 7,400 civilians in Hpakant, Tanaing, and Injangyang townships since early April, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The fighting forced more IDPs into camps between Myanmar-China border posts Nos. 6 and 8 in Waingmaw township in Myitkyina district, joining some 5,000 others already living there, according to the KBC.

The Myanmar army said KBC members delivered food supplies to the newly arrived IDPs in the area in early May.

“The refugees are in danger during this rainy season,” Rev. Hkalam Samson, the KBC’s general secretary, told RFA’s Myanmar Service. “That’s why we have been helping them.”

Colonel Thura Myo Tin, Kachin state’s security and border affairs minister, sent the KBC a letter dated May 21, telling the organization to stop going to the border camps to help the IDPs or risk being charged under Article 17(1) of the colonial-era Unlawful Association Act because the camps are in KIA-controlled territory, he said.

“Actually, every border area in Kachin state is KIA-controlled territory,” Hkalam Samson added.

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