Friday, 13 December 2019

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88-generation students volunteer to help end Kachin conflict


New Delhi (Mizzima) – The 88-Generation students who arrived at Myitkyina in Kachin State on Thursday have offered to help broker a peace deal between ethnic groups and the government. The group issued a statement to the media titled “Myitkyina Echo for Peace in Kachin State.”
 
88-Generation student Mya Aye speaks to media representatives in Rangoon in January. Photo: MizzimaThe four-point statement said that greater cooperation is needed between all parties to allow humanitarian relief supplies to reach displaced refugees as quickly as possible.

According to the statement, the 88-Generation students believe the country’s problems are two fold: ethnic issues that prevent nationwide peace and the lack of sufficient economic development throughout the country. Only with peace can economic development progress, it said.
 
The statement acalled on both sides “to hold a political dialogue as soon as possible to end the civil war and to establish genuine peace.”
 
Mya Aye, a member of the 88-Generation student group, said the group, which is comprised of many former political prisoners, is ready to mediate between the Burmese government and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) to achieve a cease-fire in Kachin State.

National League for Democracy chairman Aung San Suu Kyi, who campaigned in Namti in Kachin State on Thursday, has also offered to mediate between the two sides.

Fighting resumed in mid-summer and negotiations between the two sides has progressed slowly. Up to 50,000 war refugees are estimated to have been displaced by fighting in ethnic areas. So far, only a small amount of organized international aid has been allowed access to the refuges.

The group’s leaders were invited to  visit Myitkyina Township  to attend a prayer ceremony to mark the suspension of the Myitsone Dam Project.

An organizer told Mizzima that 88-generation students and Rangoon journalists were invited because the two groups were involved in activities urging the government to stop the dam project.
 
“Their visit will mean that Kachin war refugees might receive their help. They were involved in activities urging [the government] to stop the dam. I hope that they can be involved in activities to try to establish peace in Kachin State,” an organizer said.
 
Mya Aye told Mizzima that 16 leaders of the 88-Generation group, including Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, Htay Kywe, Min Zeya and Jimmy have expressed support and sympathy for the war refugees.
 
“Our objective is not just to attend the ceremony. Although we don’t have any money or materials to give to the war refugees, we can give them mental support,” Mya Aye said.
 
The Kachin’s last stand
Since October this year, Burma has been in a state of civil war, with fighting between Burmese military and armed ethnic rebels. The ruling junta started a crackdown on these armed groups.

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