London Protest Against Junta’s Atrocities In Kachin State
07 June 2010: About 100 people today gathered in front of Burmese Embassy in London, showing solidarity in protest against ‘forced relocation’ of Kachin villages and arbitrary arrests of more than 50 local youths in Kachin State by the military junta in Burma.
The hour-long protest, organised by London-based KNO (Kachin National Organisation), strongly condemned Junta-controlled dam projects that force four Kachin villages out of their long-inherited native places and the ‘groundless’ arrests of innocent Kachin youths who are still being detained in Myitkyina.
Goon Tawng, Chairman of KNO, told Chinland Guardian: “Today, we are calling for an immediate end to an ongoing forced relocation caused by regime’s hydropower projects, to torturing innocent Kachin youths arrested over recent bomb blasts at dam sites, and for an immediate release of those being detained.”
We, Kachin nationals inside and outside Burma, will continue our actions to protect our historical and inherited native places, and to protest against the dam projects that bring various forms of human rights violations in our land, he added.
Holding Kachin flag, banners and placards with some reading ‘Respect Panglong Agreement, No Border Guard Force, Stop Forced Labours, Stop Religious Persecutions in Burma’, the protestors shouted slogans including ‘Dam projects in Kachin State – Stop’, ‘Stop relocation in Kachin State – Right Now’.
In its official statement read today, KNO said: “While these villagers have all mean of rights to protect their lands, properties, and culture heritages, none of these have been considered by the SPDC. In addition, there is no compensation or whatsoever in place for the loss and sufferings of these villagers. We believe such treatment by Burmese regime is completely inhumane and unacceptable.”
Key speakers at the demonstration included representatives from organisations and other ethnic nationalities from Burma such as KNO, Burma Campaign UK, Burma Democratic Concern, NLD-UK, Chin Human Rights Organisation, Karenni and Karen ethnic groups.
A report released today by KNO stated: “The 50-storey-tall mega Myitsone dam which will produce 6,000 MW of power for export to China is the first in a series of seven dams in Nmai Hka River and Mali Hka River.”
“Over 60 villages, approximately 15,000 people are in the process of being forcibly relocated without consent. The dam is being constructed by China’s State-owned China Power Investment (CPI) and Myanmar’s Ministry of Electric Power.”
Burma’s military regime has since 2007 started building a string of dams in Kachin State without having obtained an approval from the local people concerned.
Since 28th May 2010, 63 households from Mazup Mare village near the Myitsone dam site have been forced to relocate by the Burmese military.
Members of the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) and Army officers aggressively forced villagers to move out of their properties. Any villagers who refuse their order are forcibly evicted, with their belongings were thrown out of houses and fruits farms were destroyed by bulldozers.
Arrests of Kachin youths began in midnight raids of homes on May 23, and continued for days. More than 50 local Kachin youths and villagers from Myitkyina, have now been arrested, interrogated, and tortured by police and military intelligence.
The Kachin National Organisation also called on the Chinese government for putting an end to colluding with Burma’s generals, and on the UN and international communities to act and help peoples of Burma to bring the military regime to justice.
Van Biak Thang