World Bulletin / News Desk
The Myanmar military and the Kachin Independent Army (KIA), an armed ethnic group, have engaged in clashes since a 17-year cease-fire broke down in June 2011.
Thirty-two Kachin civil society groups in Myanmar and abroad sent a letter to the UN Security Council earlier this week, said Khon Ja from the Kachin Peace Network, one of the signatories.
In the letter, the groups urged the UN Security Council to take action against the military for wrongdoings in northern Myanmar’s Kachin state during the years of armed conflict.
The groups said the ethnic Kachin community has been subjected to rights violations, including executions, forced displacement, rape and sexual violence, confiscations of property, arbitrary arrest and detention and denial of humanitarian assistance for a long time.
“These types of human rights violations are not new to the Kachin people or to other ethnic groups in Burma,” said the letter, referring to Myanmar.
“The Burma military has used these tactics to instill fear and control in their attempts to destroy our ethnic identity, destroy our religion, colonize our lands, and steal our natural resources,” it said.
Khun Ja said Myanmar’s government and parliament have not paid enough attention to the situation in Kachin state.
“Over 2,000 people were trapped between the fighting [sides] earlier this month. But neither the government nor parliament has done anything to protect these poor people,” he told Anadolu Agency by phone on Thursday.
“They are obviously failing to protect our community from the military. That’s why we are urging the UN to refer it to the ICC,” she said.
Gen. Nyi Nyi Tun, a military spokesperson, has denied the allegations and put blame on the ethnic rebel for fresh armed conflicts in Tanai area where gold mining is a major business.
“The accusations are groundless,” he told Anadolu Agency by phone on Thursday.
Rights groups have also urged the UN to refer Myanmar to the ICC for alleged ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims in western Rakhine state.
Earlier this month, the ICC’s chief prosecutor in The Hague asked judges to rule whether the body has jurisdiction to open a probe into the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who have been "intentionally deported across the international border into Bangladesh".
Myanmar, however, said the court has no jurisdiction as the country is not a party to the Rome statute that countries must sign on to as ICC member states.
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
Since Aug. 25, 2017, some 750,000 refugees, mostly children and women, have fled Myanmar when Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community, according to the UN. At least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in the Rakhine state from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24, according to Doctors Without Borders.
In a report published on Dec. 12, the global humanitarian organization said the deaths of 71.7 percent or 6,700 Rohingya were caused by violence. They include 730 children below the age of 5.