South East Asia

Authorities accuse Kachin protestors of ‘defamation’

Kachin flee persecution

Three Kachin protestors who staged a sit-in to call for the rescue of Kachin civilians trapped in the jungle by the Myanmar Army have been accused of “defamation” and ordered to appear in a local court in Myitkyina, Kachin State.

If convicted, they could face up to two years in jail and a fine. One of the protestors told journalists, “We only called for enabling the rescue of trapped civilians. We don’t know what was defamatory.”

Several protests have been staged by the Kachin community, calling for the thousands of civilians who have been trapped in the jungle as a result of an air and ground offensive by the Myanmar Army to be allowed to escape to safety. From 30 April to 6 May, 3,000 Kachin youth staged a sit-in protest, but authorities now appear to be clamping down on attempts to draw attention to the plight of those trapped.

The mainly-Christian Kachin ethnic minority have been targeted for decades in what the government claims is a campaign against Kachin separatist groups. The majority of the Kachin who have managed to escape from the jungle have sought sanctuary in local churches.