7 January 2013Establishing Peace in Kachin State: Time for Humanitarian Intervention?
Between 70,000 and 100,000 displaced civilian population in Kachin state are facing a severe humanitariancrisis as the conflict between the government troops and armed ethnic opposition group, KachinIndependence Army (KIA) escalates. Following the recent air strikes by the government, refugees in war-torn Kachin state are in desperate need of protection and assistance such as food, shelter and medications.There must be an immediate ceasefire in Kachin state and both the President U Thein Sein and oppositionleader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi need to work together to bring peace to the region. Otherwise, theinternational community should begin to seek possible solutions through the United Nations SecurityCouncil such as imposing a No-Fly Zone and providing much needed humanitarian assistance to beleaguered refugees.It is deeply regretful that both the government led by President U Thein Sein and opposition leader DawAung San Suu Kyi fail to explore possible ways and means of facilitating peace to Kachin state in line withthe 2008 Constitution.
According to Section 353 of the 2008 Constitution
, not only the government has a duty to protect the people but also it must not be a detrimental to the life and personal freedom of the people. Therefore,escalating military campaigns against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) which the Air Forceindiscriminately shelling and attacking areas with the civilian population not only violates the 2008Constitution but constitutes a possible ‘Crimes against Humanity’.Furthermore, the Union Government has executive power to preserve stability, peace and tranquillity inKachin state. Therefore, it should initiate a peaceful and political solution to preserve peace in Kachin state by stopping its offensive against Kachin Independence Army (Section 219, The Executive Power of theUnion Government).
It is regretful and doubtful that President U Thein Sein fails to inform the Speaker of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Union Assembly) to summon an emergency session or a special session of thePyidaungsu Hluttaw with regards to the deteriorating situation in Kachin state (Section 211).
As stated in the 2008 Constitution, executive power is shared between the government and the 11-member National Defence and Security Council (NDSC).
Five members of the NDSC hold military positions, and
Ch. VII. Citizen, Fundamental Rights and Duties of the Citizens, 353: Nothing shall, except in accord with existing laws, bedetrimental to the life and personal freedom of any person.
The Executive Power of the Union of Government, 219: The Union Government preserves stability of the union, community peaceand tranquillity and prevalence of law and order.
Powers and Functions of the President, 211: The President may intimate the Speaker of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw to summon anemergency or special session of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, if necessary.
Chapter V, Executive