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Saturday, Apr 19th

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Burma Community Based Organizations question aid cuts

Burma Community Based Organizations from inside Burma and along the border urged the international community to continue cross border aid even if there are ‘peace talks’ between the government and ethnic armed groups.

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The CBO’s said it is not the time to cut aid to Burma’s most vulnerable people and where the most need is.

As many as 36 CBOs from Burma, gathered at the Thai-Burma border on April 6 to 7, to discuss the possible withdrawal of funds and their impact on refugees, displaced people and migrant workers.

The CBO’s have now released a statement, ‘Peace and Development in Burma’ that lists 10 recommendations.

In the CBO statement released in early April, the CBOs said they were concerned that funding cuts to cross-border aid were being planned by international donors who are now preparing to relocate their aid and services to Burma at the expense of the vulnerable ethnic populations.

Seng Mai from the Kachin Development Network Group who endorsed the CBO statement spoke to Karen News.

“The Government may be making peace with the ethnic armed groups, but there is still conflict happening in Kachin State. Refugees and internally displaced people are still in need of cross-border aid and it should be continued.”

Seng Mai recommended that cross-border aid to war refugees in Karen State and on the Bangladeshi and Indian border regions should be continued.

The CBO statement accused President Thein Sein’s government of allowing human rights violations by the Burma Army to continue unsanctioned in all ethnic areas – land confiscation, forced relocation, forced labour, extortion, restriction of movement, rape and intimidation.

The CBO statement also concealed donors to be responsible and to ensure that they “Do No Harm” and that they should not cut humanitarian support to ethnic communities in order to pressure ethnic groups during the ceasefire processes. The CBO’s also questioned the lifting of international sanctions until a genuine peace, based on political solutions, is established in Burma.