CHIANG RAI – A UN official in Myanmar has expressed concern over the ongoing conflict in the Shan State. Clashes between the Army and an alliance of three ethnic armed groups have intensified since August.
UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator June Kunugi report, highlighted the plight of civilians caught in the crossfire of fighting in the region.
“I am gravely concerned by the recent sharp escalation of conflict in northern Shan State. Since mid-August, a reported 17 civilians have been killed and 27 injured, many of them women and children” she said.
Besides casualties, the conflict has also damaged infrastructure and made road travel unsafe, leaving many local people trapped in their villages.
On August 31st, five civilians, including three children, were killed in the village of Maw Heik in Kutkai Township.
The statement also welcomed the recent extension of the Myanmar Army’s unilateral ceasefire.
Last week, representatives of the Myanmar government and the Northern Alliance, met in Shan State to discuss ways to stop the conflict.
The meeting was met with skepticism from Shan observers, because did not include any Myanmar Army representatives.
“Well, the armed forces on both sides need to discuss this. They shouldn’t just hold ‘for show’ peace talks,” said Sai Hor Hseng of the Shan Human Rights Foundation.
Like many countries, Myanmar has already ratified the Geneva Convention, which covers conduct in international and civil wars. Experts say that domestic Myanmar laws concerning the military do not, however, fall in line with international norms.