02/18/2019 Myanmar (International Christian Concern) – Rev. Hkalam Samson, the chairperson of the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC), told Kachin News Group (KNG) in a recent interview that the return of Kachin IDPs should not be tied to a ceasefire timeline or handled by the Tatmadaw (Burmese army).
As the head of the Kachin Humanitarian Concern Committee (KHCC), a group formed by religious groups and civil society organizations, Rev. Samson met with representatives from the Burmese government’s National Reconciliation and Peace Center on Feb. 10.
KHCC is concerned that with the unilateral four-month ceasefire announced by the Tatmadaw last December, they would rush the IDPs to return home and get involved in the process.
“We don’t want IDPs to be forced to return home within this four-month period. We don’t accept IDPs being forced to return during this time. We don’t want IDPs to be sent back to their villages in military vehicles,” Rev. Samson told KNG.
The fighting between the Kachin Independence Army and Tatmatdaw has displaced nearly 100,000 Christian-majority Kachin people in Myanmar’s north since 2011. Despite multiple ceasefire attempts and foreign assistance, the majority of IDPs still have not been able to return home. They live in IDP camps where they have little income, food, and access to education.
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