Kachin IDP start returning home

The Kachin Post / July 5, 2020

KBC Chairman Rev. Hkalam Samson gave message at resettlement ceremony / KBC

The first ten-households of Kachin Internally Displace Persons (IDP) have begun officially returning to their original village of Shwe Nyaung Pin in Waimaw Township, Kachin State yesterday, turning a new page for over a hundred thousand Kachin war refugees to resettle back to their original homes.

The returning members of IDP are former resident of the IDP camp at the Shatapru Kachin Baptist Church in the Kachin State capital Myitkyina, and they were transported back to the Shwe Nyaung Pin village, according to the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC). The resettlement program was jointly facilitated by the KBC, the Kachin State government and the local Red Cross team.

“This is not a forced return,” said the head of KBC’s Humanitarian and Development Department Pastor Hpauyam Hka Li during the resettlement ceremony at the Shwe Nyaung Pin village. He said that the KBC has been advocating IDPs for many times that the chosen resettlement-locations would be met with certain conditions; must be a pristine village, far from the conflict zone and not overlapping controlled-area of Burmese government and Kachin Independence Organization (KIO). The IDP understand the conditions and they made their own decision to voluntarily return home, he continued.

Since last year, KBC has been campaigning for the safe and dignify return of Kachin IDP to their homes along with the Kachin Humanitarian Concern Committee (KHCC). The committee met a few times with both Burmese government and KIO for the return of over a hundred thousand IDP.

Most of the Kachin war refugees were displaced since 2011 by the renewed war between Burma Army and the Kachin Independence Army, an armed wing of KIO. More than half of the IDP live under the KIO controlled area along the Chinese border and the rest of them live in cities and towns under controlled of Burmese government.