The Kachin National Organization (KNO), which represents Kachin political exiles, has called for the UN to take action to end the fighting in Kachine State in northeast Burma, which has claimed thousands of lives in renewed fighting since June 2011.
In an open letter sent to UN head Ban Ki-moon, it called for “direct action” and a cessation of all military offensives, including in northwest Shan State.
The letter said that the Burmese army was waging a brutal campaign against “innocent civilians while engaging in hollow talks with the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO)” that are “contradictory to peace.”
A failure to address the issues relating to the plight of Burma's ethnic minorities “will only perpetuate long-standing conflicts, suffering, political and humanitarian crises faced by the people,” said the group.
A recent report by Human Rights Watch and the UN's special rapporteur for Human Rights in Burma alleged serious abuses carried out by Burma's military against civilians in Kachin State.
Formed in 1999, the KNO is one the largest and best organized Kachin organizations operating outside of Burma.
This week Mizzima reported that the number of Burmese soldiers killed in the renewed 15-month long Kachin conflict is in the thousands and could be as high as 10,000, according to senior leaders of the KIO.
The KIO said its estimates are very rough, and it does not appear to be confident enough in its exact estimates to publicly release them, the Kachin News Group (KNG) said. The nature of the KIO guerilla hit-and-run tactics makes it impossible to get reliable figures of Burmese casualties, it said.
The KIO said it has lost more than 700 soldiers since June 2011 when the most recent conflict began, and it said the number of Burmese soldiers killed is far greater.