Kachin Youth Request Meeting With State Counsellor, Military Commander-in-Chief

Monday, June 1, 2020

The Kachin Youth Movement has asked the Kachin State government to organize a meeting between Kachin youth, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and the commander-in-chief of the Burma Army to discuss peace-related issues.

The request came when the youth representatives met with state officials on May 28. They also asked that a meeting be held every three to four months between the Kachin State government, local youth organizations and civil society organizations. They also asked that criminal charges of against three Kachin artists for a COVID-19 awareness mural be revisited with the aim of being dismissed.

The Kachin State government has yet to fully respond.

The Kachin Youth Movement has repeatedly given open letters to the State Counsellor during her visits to Kachin State but say they have never received a response. They requested a meeting at least three times, with the last open letter sent last October. After six months, the Kachin State government agreed to meet them.

“We gave an open letter to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi when she visited Kachin State. At that time, Kachin youth were sentenced to jail time for their movement to help Kachin IDPs who were trapped on the front line,” Lum Zawng, who is working with the youth movement, told NMG. “They didn’t respond to us at that time. After six months, the Kachin State security and border affairs minister and social minister received the Kachin youth in a meeting at the end of May.”

In their previous letters, the Kachin Youth Movement has asked for a roundtable discussion with the State Counsellor, for the government to give humanitarian aid to Kachin internally displaced persons (IDPs) and take responsibility for the education of IDP children. They also asked them to not bring charges against peaceful demonstrators, to name infrastructure after ethnic Kachin leaders, and to halt the construction of new pagodas in Kachin State, citing the presence of a large Christian population.

“I think the NLD government is almost complete in its administration. That’s why they want to seek a way to meet youth. Whatever the reason, it’s good to meet between youth and government officials. Youth will work together with the government for IDP and peace issues in Kachin State,” Lum Zawng told NMG.

In the May 28 meeting with seven representatives of the Kachin Youth Movement, the Kachin State government officials explained their own programming regarding drug control, IDP returns, aid and education.