KNU calls on UN to impose no-fly zone over Kayin State in face of junta air raids

KNU calls on UN to impose no-fly zone over Kayin State in face of junta air raids

The Karen National Union (KNU) has called for an emergency meeting of the UN to establish a no-fly zone over Kayin State, citing the potential for further Tatmadaw air strikes over Lay Kay Kaw which could result in deaths and trigger other human rights abuses.

As fighting in the region continues to intensify, triggering a refugee crisis, KNU Central Command yesterday released a statement condemning the Tatmadaw’s excessive use of its force in Lay Kay Kaw “peace village”, located inside KNU 6 Brigade’s Duplaya district. 

In the statement, the KNU called on the Tatmadaw to withdraw troops from the zone of conflict and to cease its interference in the region’s politics. 

The KNU also urged authorities to provide suitable accommodation to refugees forced to cross the border due to fighting and thanked Thailand for accepting those fleeing. It further requested that the Thai government provide access to international aid organisations.

The EAO’s statement once again reiterated its belief that the only way to avoid violent escalations experienced across 70 years of civil war between the military and the KNU is to achieve the establishment of a federal democratic union, stating that the KNLA’s current battles are defensive, countering Tatmadaw raids, arbitrary arrests, and the destruction of civilians homes. 

Speaking to DVB last week, spokesperson of the National Unity Government, Dr. Sasa, pointed out that these latest raids on refugees Kayin’ s “peace village” are both a crime against humanity and a blatant breach of Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, to which the junta in its propaganda still claims to uphold.

The KNU thanked Kayin communities both local and overseas as well as local and international aid organizations that continue to provide funds for food and shelter for the state’s refugees whilst pleading that people continue to provide assistance. 

Over 4,000 people are reported to have fled to Thailand by crossing the Thaung Yin river on the morning of Dec. 20, raising the total number displaced by fighting since last Wednesday to an estimated 10,000.

“When the Tatmadaw launched air strikes over KNU Brigade 5 controlled area, many civilians were killed in the place of combatant targets. This shouldn’t be happening. The military jets scout our territory every day, and we believe it could launch airstrikes over Lay Kay Kaw. So, it is very important that international organizations such as the UN take action on this case. Also, the military should know its place without interfering in the country’s politics if it wishes to build a democratic country,” Pado Saw Ta Ni, KNU’s permanent secretary, told DVB.

KNU senior leadership on Monday said that it had issued orders to all of its brigades to be in a state of readiness to exchange fire with the Tatmadaw. The group also claimed that some 50 soldiers were killed on Sunday in fighting that broke out between the villages of Metta Lin Myaing and Mae Htaw Thale near Lay Kay Kaw.