US-Based Refugees Petition Mitchell
covering burma and southeast asia
Saturday, June 15, 2024

US-Based Refugees Petition Mitchell

By LALIT K JHA / THE IRRAWADDY Friday, March 23, 2012

Members of the US Campaign for Burma Aung Din, Gum San Maung and Myra Dahgaypaw meet with Ambassador Derek Mitchell in Washington on March 22. (PHOTO: The Irrawaddy)

WASHINGTON—Burmese refugees living in the US have urged the Obama administration to ensure the human rights of the various ethnic communities in Burma are protected as the country is moving ahead on its path of reforms.

A petition signed by nearly 5,000 ethnic refugees settled in the US was submitted on Thursday to US Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma Derek Mitchell by a delegation from US Campaign for Burma, led by its executive director, Aung Din.

The petition requested Mitchell to use his position to end systematic human rights abuses by the Burmese army against ethnic nationalities in Burma. Other members of the delegation were Myra Dahgaypaw, the campaigns coordinator, and Gum San Maung, the president of the Kachin National Organization US.

Over the past four months, resettled refugees from Burma including Karen, Kachin, Chin, Shan, Mon, Karenni, Arakan and Burman from 67 cities in 29 states in the US organized their community members to sign onto this petition concerning ethnic rights in Burma.

“They realize that now, more than ever, more attention should be given to the ethnic nationalities’ issue if the international community sincerely wants to help bring long-lasting peace and true reconciliation to the people of Burma,” the petition said.

The petition urged Mitchell to pressure the Burmese regime to stop attacks and human rights abuses in ethnic areas, especially in Kachin and Shan States where attacks have escalated over the last nine months.

It also urged the US official to immediately provide lifesaving humanitarian assistance to internally displaced peoples in Kachin State and pressure the Burmese regime to allow humanitarian assistance to be delivered to these people.

The Burmese refugees further urged Mitchell to pressure the Burmese regime to enter into political dialogue and to prioritize the inclusion of the ethnic representatives, including the ethnic democratic forces that are not in the parliament, instead of forcing them to join in the current political system before a political settlement is reached.

“We are particularly concerned that while the main focus of international diplomatic efforts has been on some limited reforms affecting central Burma and the upcoming by-election for a small numbers of seats in the Parliament, insufficient attention is being paid to developments in ethnic states,” the petition said.

“Widespread human rights abuses including forced labor, arbitrary detention and torture, extrajudicial killings, human shields, destruction of villages and theft of property, rape, forced relocation and forced portering still continue,” they said, adding that in the absence of armed conflict, there also exist abuses related to extracting labor, land, money and resources from villagers.

“The current ceasefires do not create peace for ethnic civilians. They do not guarantee safety for civilians. Instead, Burmese troops use the opportunity to transport their rations and ammunitions to their front line bases located in ethnic minority areas,” the petition said.

“It is exciting that these former refugees are now using their rights in the US to speak out for their friends and families left in conflict zones in Burma,” said Dahgaypaw.


Please read our policy before you post comments. Click here
E-mail:   (Your e-mail will not be published.)
You have characters left.
Word Verification: captcha Type the characters you see in the picture.

Mohammad Wrote:
With due respected Dear President USA we are minorities group from rakhine state and other all togehter an appeal to Dear great President USA kindly please thinking about poorless human and right for human and justce for all opppressed mankind in BURMA. so we are how long will be waiting without nationalty and idendentity becouse we are normal stateless human. Please looking back to karen and Rohingya-chan how living in Janggle area..??

Ohn Wrote:
Sad story really.

Than Shwe and Co. sold the country out. The creditors are just beginning to claim their pound of flesh yet, dams, rivers, mines, cheap about, ports, gas, forest, women, teak, minerals. More will be sold out soon.
People WILL lose their centuries old ancestral land not only in Kachin and Karen places, but all over the country including Monywa .

For that people will be killed, tortured and displaced and ended up in life - long servitude.

That is enthusiastically endorsed by all wanting to be like Singapore.

So the blood is not just on the military, but on all who want to sell put the country.

The Americans will not come in not because they are magnanimous but because they cannot trust the famous Burmese laws. So they change their tune and try to sound again like they care the least Ty say something more than esoteric philosophical musings of Aung San Suu Kyi.

more articles in this section