Aid Agencies Urged to Focus on Conflict Victims in Promoting Peace in Burma
11 April 2012: A group of 36 community-based organizations (CBOs) from Burma urged humanitarian and development agencies to continue assistance in conflict-affected areas while promoting peace in the country.
In a statement released yesterday, the group said ‘urgently needed cross-border’ humanitarian aid to thousands of IDPs (internally displaced persons) or refugees in Burma’s conflict-affected areas should not be reduced.
And development aid should put priority on human development and grass-roots empowerment rather than infrastructure development in the country, according to the statement.
“Humanitarian and development aid should be promoting peace, justice and reconciliation rather than dividing people and creating conflict,” added the statement.
Taking into account the ongoing ceasefire processes between Thein Sein’s government and ethnic armed groups, CBOs stressed the continuation of human rights violations and abuses in ethnic areas due to the mega-development projects.
The aim of the government is clearly to establish cease-fire agreements with the ethnic groups to promote development first, rather than to promote peace in the country, according to CBOs, who held a meeting on the Thai-Burma border on 6-7 April 2012.
“These projects have been started without standards to prevent harmful environmental and social impacts, and will therefore cause more refugee and IDPs,” said the statement.
CBOs also said of the need for local community-based organizations from all sectors to be included in the overall ‘strategy planning’ of development and humanitarian processes while calling for more transparency and accountability.
The group highlighted that sanctions must not be lifted on Burma until genuine peace is established based on political solutions in the country.
Reporting by Thawng Zel Thang