By Soe Hteik Aung/Kantarawaddy Times
A human rights group called on all stakeholders to work together to end the fighting in Burma during the coronavirus pandemic. The Network For Human Rights Documentation – Burma (ND-Burma) said all armed conflicts in the ethnic areas of the country need to stop to assist thousands of civilians that are internally displaced during the health crisis.
“ND-Burma believes that true peace in Burma is possible if the Burma Army, EAOs (ethnic armed organisations) and the government work together to overcome all obstacles, including COVID-19, especially when it comes to assisting populations who are highly vulnerable,” the statement said.
Thet Thet Aung, who is the director of Future Light Center (FLC), which is a member group of ND-Burma, told Kantarawaddy Times “we’ve seen that the death rate from the civil war is much higher than from COVID-19 in Burma and this is worrisome.”
The government, Burma Army and EAOs need to respect international human rights, she said. Yet, “as the pandemic quickly spreads across Burma the situation in northern Shan and Rakhine states have become more unstable,” Thet Thet Aung said, citing recent shelling of villages in Rakhine State.
Hostilities between the Burma Army and Arakan Army in Rakhine and southern Chin states have increased in the last month. Many civilians have been killed or injured after the Burma Army launched airstrikes that struck villages.