Statement of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission on its trip to the Kachin State (5/2012)

The Secretary of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission and two members of the Commission visited Myitkyina  and Waingmaw of the Kachin State from 23 to 27 July 2012 and carried out the following tasks of the Commission :-
–     visited 16 relief camps , met with the people of the camps and expressed             words of encouragement to them.
–    summoned and examined the witnesses in connection with the complaints,  assumed to involve the violations of human rights in the Kachin State.
–    met with the Chief Minister and the Ministers of the Kachin State  Government and exchanged views on the prevailing situation in the Kachin  State.
Based on the activities and the findings of the Commission team, the following recommendations are made:-
–    on studying and examination  of the camps that  the Commission  team   visited,  it was found that although  over one year has elapsed,  the basic  needs of the peoples of the camps were able to be fulfilled as before. The  departments and the organizations concerned are urged to supply additional   medicines required for  the provision of health care for and   treatment of   ailments caused by seasonal changes.
–    the people at the relief camps expressed  that they wished to return to   their villages and that land mines in the surrounding areas of the villages be   cleared . To carry out mine clearance before the resettlement work is commenced, there should be cooperation among the armed groups and   the relevant domestic and foreign organizations. The villagers should be   educated about land mines.
–    according to the statements of the witnesses made in connection with the  complaints, it was found that there were certain violations of human rights  of the populations of the villages by the armed groups . Therefore, it is strongly urged not to violate human rights under any circumstances and to act in accordance with human rights standards.
–    according to the statements of the witnesses from the Tarlawgyi village of          the Myitkyina Township, there were instances of forced recruitment of         soldiers from villagers of Tarlawgyi by the KIA. It was learnt that 53  villagers of Tarlawgyi who were serving as the people’s militia of the KIA   have returned to the legal fold. It is urged that no armed group should  engage in forced recruitment of soldiers in any area.
–    it was learnt that the Tatmadaw arrested and interrogated two villagers of Tarlawgyi in early January 2012 and they were prosecuted by the authorities  concerned under the existing laws. In order not to adversely affect the  rights of the persons concerned, the court   proceedings should be   expeditiously concluded.
–    the Commission does not wish to  make any  comment  on the  interrogation of the suspects by security forces for security reasons  and   on their prosecution in accordance with the law. However, torture during  the interrogation constitutes violation of human rights and must be avoided.
The Government has received encouragement and support from within and outside the country in establishing a democratic state. Similarly, the Government has made historic accomplishments in its efforts to bring about lasting peace. Under these circumstances, concerted efforts should also be made by all to establish peace in the Kachin State in accordance with the desire of the people.

The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission
Dated:   14 August 2012