Church Concerned About End to Humanitarian Aid in Kachin State

ICC Note: Church aid workers in Kachin state are concerned that the Myanmar military’s warning to the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) to stop humanitarian aid will prevent other groups from helping the internally displaced Kachin ethnic group. The motive behind the army’s move remains unknown.

06/20/2018 Myanmar (UCA News) – Church aid workers are concerned that the Myanmar military’s warning to the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) to halt humanitarian work in rebel-controlled territory in Kachin State will cause other groups to stop providing help.

Hka Li, an official from the KBC’s social and development apartment, said its members help everyone in dire need of humanitarian assistance regardless of whether they are in a government-controlled area or a non-government area.

“The latest warning by Myanmar’s military is signaling not only to the KBC but also to other organizations to halt humanitarian work, especially in non-government areas,” he told ucanews.com.

He said the warning would not deter the KBC and it would continue to help people no matter how much difficulty they are facing.

The KBC will send a letter to authorities about the issue.

The KBC has played a vital role in providing humanitarian assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Kachin and Shan states since 2011.

On May 21, Col. Thura Myo Tin, Kachin’s security and border affairs minister, sent a letter warning that KBC members should stop going to IDP camps near the Chinese border or risk being charged under Article 17(1) of the Unlawful Association Act as the camps are in Kachin Independence Army (KIA) territory.

Bishop Raymond Sumlut Gam of Banmaw, chairman of Karuna Myanmar, the Catholic Church’s social arm, said the motive behind the move remained unknown.

“We are closely monitoring our ground situation and we need to be careful in carrying out our humanitarian work,” Bishop Gam told ucanews.com.

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