One civilian was killed on Tuesday and hundreds more were displaced in northern Shan State’s Kyaukme district as fighting broke out between the Shan State Army-South, a nationwide ceasefire agreement signatory group, and the non-signatory Ta’ang National Liberation Army.
Christians around Burma say they are no better off under the democratically elected government headed by Aung San Suu Kyi, despite promises made in the lead-up to the historic 2015 general election to protect the nation’s’ four major faiths.
In an emergency session on Wednesday, the Shan State legislature passed an urgent proposal to designate as “terrorist organisations” the four ethnic armed groups fighting with Burmese government forces in the state’s north.
Amnesty International has welcomed the establishment of a high-level Arakan Commission headed by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, but has called for it to address the human rights situation in the volatile region, while investigating decades of discrimination against minorities.
The Arakan Army, Ta’ang Nationalities Liberation and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army have welcomed the Burmese government’s announcement that they are invited to the upcoming peace conference.
“There will be 75 representatives from the government; 75 from parliament; 150 representatives each from the Tatmadaw [Burmese military], ethnic armed groups and political parties; 50 ethnic representatives; and 50 other invitees.”