Channel NewsAsia

Kachin natives bear brunt of civil war in Myanmar

Three years after fighting resumed in Myanmar's Kachin state, many of the people there are still living in temporary shelters and with the bare necessities.  Volunteers are trying to generate more awareness about this issue.

YANGON: Three years have passed since fighting resumed between Myanmar's military and ethnic Kachin rebels in the the north of the country -- violence broke out between the two groups after a 17-year ceasefire agreement collapsed in 2011.

Amnesty International has called for an immediate end to the violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws with regards to the continued fighting in Kachin.

They lost their land, their homes and some even their lives -- three years after fighting resumed in Kachin state, many are still living in temporary shelters.

May Sabe Phyu, a coordinator at the Kachin Peace Network, said: "For them, three years is like 30 years to them because they are living (with the bare necessities).

"It's not about three days, it's not about three months. Now, (it has been) three years already and the food they are being given is really, really limited. "

Such is the plight of many of the victims in Kachin and volunteers are trying to generate more awareness about this issue.

Padang Awng, a student and Kachin-native, said: "When I saw the Kachin people suffer, I feel sad and I cry. So I decided to join the (Kachin Peace Network) to help inform people that the Kachin people need help and the civil war needs to be stopped."

May Sabe Phyu added: "The government needs to be committed to stop (the war). But if they are not, the war will not stop for sure. Right now, we do not see the government having that commitment."

Those involved in the national ceasefire talks said the issue is extremely complicated, but the government is sparing no efforts to achieve national peace.

There are hopes that a nationwide ceasefire deal between the government and the Kachin Independence Organisation and other ethnic armed groups can be concluded in two months.

Aung Naing Oo, the associate director of the peace dialogue programme at the Myanmar Peace Centre, said: "We have to go slowly, step-by-step.

"Of course for people who are suffering on the ground, it's hard for them to understand how difficult the whole thing is and it's very hard for them to appreciate the complexity of the peace process as it goes."

The Kachin Peace Network has called on the government to not simply just talk about ending the war in Myanmar but to put those words into real action so as to stop the violence in this country once and for all. 

Tweet photos, videos and updates on this story to  @channelnewsasia