Thousands of Kachin IDPs Might Soon Return Home

02/20/2019 Myanmar (International Christian Concern) – Between 6000 and 10,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Kachin State who have been displaced since 2011 may be able to return to their homes, according to the main civil society organization working for the refugees’ return.

Myanmar Times reports that a meeting on the refugees between members of the Kachin Humanitarian Concern Committee (KHCC) and the Peace-talk Creation Group of Myitkyina drew up a list of those who could return home.

Reverend Hkalam Samson, head of the committee, said that the names of the refugees, who are spread out in about 100 camps, will be submitted to the government in the first week of March.

KHCC has been working on the list after they met with the government’s National Reconciliation and Peace Centre in Yangon on February 10.

“We have prepared the list of returnees, giving priority to those from villages along Bamaw road and in Myitkyina, the state capital,” he said. “We chose those refugees from villages where there are no landmines. We considered the security situation and the activity of armed groups near the villages. We also checked the condition of the houses in the villages. We want the returnees to feel safe when they return,” he added.

According to U San Aung, spokesperson of the Peace-talk Creation Group, whether these IDPs can return home largely depends on the outcome of an upcoming meeting between the government and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) on a possible ceasefire.

The Burmese army (Tatmadaw) and the Kachin Independence Army have been fighting each other in predominantly Christian Kachin State since 2011, forcing around 100,000 people to flee their homes for IDP camps. Half of these camps are in a KIA-controlled area and are often blocked from receiving aid given many checkpoints are controlled by the Tatmadaw.

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