Tat­madaw of­fers to help refugees re­turn home

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - MYAT MOE THU news­[email protected]­times.com

The Tat­madaw has of­fered to pro­vide as­sis­tance to refugees in Shan State who are will­ing to re­turn to their vil­lages dur­ing its four-month truce.

THE Tat­madaw (mil­i­tary) will help refugees who want to re­turn home vol­un­tar­ily in five mil­i­tary re­gions where it stopped op­er­a­tions for four months start­ing Jan­uary 1, ac­cord­ing to the North Eastern Com­mand in Shan State.

“We will not force them to re­turn, but if they want to, we are con­sid­er­ing how the Tat­madaw can help ar­range their trans­porta­tion and ac­com­mo­da­tion. We will not force them to re­turn to their re­gions,” said Colonel Win Htut Lay of the North Eastern Com­mand.

Some refugees, es­pe­cially those who have stayed a long time in camps, still feel un­safe about re­turn­ing to their homes. Oth­ers have lost their houses and liveli­hoods and have no place to re­turn to.

“We have been here for three years. We don’t want to re­turn, as our houses were de­stroyed and it is not easy to make a liv­ing,” said Daw Aye Mi of Mong Yaw vil­lage, who lives at Kyusao camp in Namtu town­ship in Shan.

Al­though the mil­i­tary stopped its op­er­a­tions, fight­ing be­tween two armed eth­nic groups has caused more vil­lagers to seek refuge at camps.

A refugee said it is still not safe to re­turn be­cause of fight­ing be­tween the Restora­tion Coun­cil of Shan State and the Ta’ang Na­tional Lib­er­a­tion Army.

“De­spite the mil­i­tary’s pledge, there are still armed groups. They are still fight­ing. We have lived here for years now. Be­sides, the cease­fire is only for four months and we don’t know what will hap­pen af­ter those four months, so we won’t go back,” he said.

Some civil so­ci­ety groups said that be­sides send­ing the refugees back home, the gov­ern­ment must also en­sure their long term se­cu­rity and safety.

Nan Sabei, a mem­ber of the North­ern Shan State Peace Civil Or­gan­i­sa­tions Com­mit­tee, said, “Much should be done for them to re­set­tle in their vil­lages. I don’t want the Tat­madaw to rush these things dur­ing the cease­fire of four months. Trust should be built dur­ing these four months, and we should do ev­ery­thing to ex­tend the cease­fire.”

There are around 20 refugee camps and 30,000 refugees in north­ern Shan.

Photo: Myat Moe Thu

Refugees at a camp in Namtu town­ship, Shan State.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.